A craft-oriented multiroaster cafe called Century Coffee Company is now serving customers in the City Foundry food hall in St. Louis, Missouri. At the helm is 2019 United States Coffee In Good Spirits champion Matt Foster.
The coffee company’s name nods to the Foundry building’s original life as the headquarters of electrical equipment manufacturing company Century Electric Co. The coffee shop modernizes the industrial vibe, which is reinforced by exposed steel beams and ductwork. Walls of windows that separate the 795-square-foot shop from the rest of the food hall grant the specialty coffee experience a sense of distinction.
“We wanted to create a space that made sense in the food hall, but had its own identity and would make sense if we built it as a standalone on the other side of town,” Matt Foster told Daily Coffee News. “We left the brick wall, metal girders, HVAC and high ceilings exposed to make the transition into the space feel seamless. However, we chose to use blues, whites, soft pink accents, open wood shelving, and plants to soften the feel of the space.”
A 12-year specialty coffee industry veteran, Foster recently joined City Foundry real estate management company New + Found as its beverage program manager, leading coffee and beverage operations at Century as well at Century’s sibling catering company called Culinary Canvas.
An Eversys Cameo C2M espresso machine helps transform these coffees behind the Century bar, while drip coffee comes by way of a Mahlkönig EK43 grinder with a Fetco 2131 XTS batch brewing system.
“We will probably rotate some of these out at some point, but there are no definite timelines, and they can be rotated back in,” Foster said of the multiroaster program. “If I don’t already know and trust someone from a roaster, I typically look at where and how they purchase their beans, the flavor quality, price, and if they’re at all involved in the larger specialty coffee industry.”
Despite Foster’s proven expertise in coffee cocktail creation, the shop is for now offering a relatively straightforward coffee drinks menu complemented by a selection of fresh baked goods.
“We’re starting small as we open,” said Foster. “I want to make sure I train the new team to execute a few basic drink offerings before adding more. We have discussed acquiring a liquor license and offering a selection of coffee cocktails.”
Of particular interest to Foster is the chance to design some drinks incorporating Sol Luna Coffee Whiskey, a spirit brand he launched in October.
In addition to the food hall, the massive City Foundry complex also includes a winery, draughthouse, virtual reality gaming facility and an indoor miniature golf course. Century, meanwhile, is living very much in the now.
“Getting the culture right for my team is paramount. I want to create a work environment that’s fun, challenging, financially supportive, and safe,” said Foster. “I really believe that if we can do that for our team members, we can create amazing experiences for our guests.”
Century Coffee Co. is located inside City Foundry STL, at 3730 Foundry Way in St. Louis.