It might be difficult for fans of Norfolk, Virginia’s Vessel Craft Coffee to contain their excitement now that the roasting company has dropped anchor at its flagship roastery cafe.
Within the roughly 3,600-square-foot Vessel in West Ghent/Chelsea, about 1,200 square feet is devoted to offices, a kitchen and a roasting operation that now includes a Giesen W15A roaster. The remaining two thirds houses the brew bar and cafe with seating for 50 people.
The open-concept, minimally decorated space provides clear views of the roaster from various seating areas, including sofas and chairs, booths outfitted with USB connections and a children’s table. Neutral-colored walls and surfaces are designed to provide a backdrop for various shows, pop-ups, twice-monthly yoga classes and other events.
“We wanted to create an immersive experience in the craft of small batch roasting, brewing, and tasting, as well as a community space where individuals and groups can spend time relaxing, working, or socializing,” Vessel Coffee Founder Sarah Cowherd told Daily Coffee News. “Our open-concept design brings all of this together.”
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A meeting room is available for private gatherings, and bar seating around the roaster accommodates public cuppings and coffee classes.
Founded by Cowherd 2016, Vessel Craft Coffee shifted from a private label roasting relationship to its own house roasting operation about four years ago. In 2020, the company redesigned its packaging and branding to better convey a commitment to ethical coffee sourcing and coffee craft.
Buildout of the new location occurred throughout the first half of this year. Following a May soft opening, the kitchen overseen by chef Eric Jackson started offering pastries, breakfast and lunch and seasonal specials made on site with fresh ingredients.
The menu includes items such as chicken salad with hemp seed pesto, a plant-based sausage and egg sandwich on brioche, and banana bread French toast with espresso whipped cream. Grab-and-go items are also available for riverfront workers and hikers headed to the nearby Elizabeth River Trail.
Grand opening ceremonies for the Vessel Craft Coffee flagship are currently planned for Aug. 13-14.