A few days ago, as my morning run draws to completion, the familiar silhouette of a man leisurely standing with a cup of coffee flashes past my peripheral observance. Is this Seattle Coffee Works and are they opening a location on Capitol Hill? Without hesitation I immediately direct message inquiring about this possibility and it is true.
Being informed of their Open House, I take note to checkout their new location despite running a 10-mile race followed by participating in an art walk tour the morning of; I was in serious need of an outstanding cup of coffee later that day.
Currently, it is easy to dismissively walk past the new location and is understandably so, for the grand windows are camouflaged, top to bottom, with the familiar silhouette and rainbow flag giving the impression this space is occupied…
Despite the incognito exterior, once entering into Capitol Coffee Works, the space, work in progress, is spectacularly minimalistic and light with a sense of freedom and acceptance. An enthusiastic greeting washes over me from all directions as the hissing of coffee preparations mingle with music and the fresh familiar aromas of stellar coffee, fresh tacos from Tacos Chukis and thick kegged beer from Optimism Brewing are freely shared and gifted to all who enter. The Open House is not, for it is a truly genuine House Warming Party amongst neighbors where one can hear the smiles as lively chatter invites new and old friends speaking of passionate and prospective endeavors.
Capitol Hill’s new neighbors are good, happy and smiling people. People that care not only about the neighborhood they have moved into but what they are bringing to the table in way of craft, pride and innovative ways to utilize the coffee plant as a whole. Capitol Coffee Works is aiming to open later in May, I for one am looking forward to another one of their velvety smooth hemp lattes!
The well educated people behind the scales and the Lamborghinis of equipment utilizing their skills are the ones presenting us with a cup of art; yet, let us not be blind to the immense care and process from which the soil and the seed begin that spectacular experience in a cup.
Pipo & Sebastian opened Seattle Coffee Works as a tiny window next to the current location almost eleven years ago and now they have grown to include Ballard Coffee Works and Capitol Hill Coffee Works… I have a gut feeling their growth is ongoing…
Our Approach: What’s different about our approach to making coffee better?
Coffee Is A Fruit: As with any fruit, ripeness and freshness are essential! We prefer natural and honey-processed coffee, to highlight the bright, tangy flavors that occur naturally in many heirloom and newly developed varieties. We roast lightly to preserve juiciness and character. Nearly all our coffees rank 90 or above (super premium grade), placing them among the highest quality coffees in the world.
Focus On Farmers: Growing, harvesting and drying coffee is extremely complex and challenging. Farmers, especially small farmers, are ideally positioned to impact both the quality of the coffee they produce and the quality of life for people in their communities. We partner with farmers whom we know and trust as agents of positive social change and agricultural innovation.
Equitable, Sustainable Livelihoods (from seed to cup) Whether planting seeds, harvesting coffee cherries, roasting, brewing or drinking coffee, everyone deserves a living wage and recognized of the work they do. We care about and support all the people along our supply chain. That includes you! Stewarding the land, air and water equitably and well is vital to all of our interests.
by Pipo & Sebastian
In Capitol Coffee Works, patrons will notice three outstanding pieces of artwork on the walls. the importance and significance of these have been shared with me from Pipo and I must share with you…
Thanks for asking about the significance of these three artworks. They each aim to show coffee in a different way than we usually see it here in Seattle… Here, we know coffee as a brown liquid or brown, roasted beans. We’d like to show people a different view of coffee in this new cafe.
In fact, coffee is a tropical fruit. Like all fruits, it starts with a flower – this is why we created a huge close-up photo of coffee flowers. The flowers themselves have a gorgeous structure, and the petals are almost sparkling white. In the large photo, the pollen is clearly visible on the flower stamens and also on the bee. Without pollinators like this bee, none of us could enjoy the fruits of this plant.
The photo of the “golden bean” looks a little more familiar, but also intriguingly different. It has the well-known shape of a coffee bean, which is actually the see of the fruit. The golden coating is the fruit flesh, after the outer peel has been removed. It looks a bit like a peach that has been blanched and the skin removed.
This coffee fruit flesh is delicious, but also perishable, so we don’t get to enjoy it often here. Both of these photos were taken during our trip to Guatemala in 2014, at coffee farms from whom we buy coffee, so the photos literally represent the coffee we serve.
Capitol Coffee Works is a place where we can be more experimental, innovative and creative than in many other cafes. We will delve deeply into the concept of coffee as a fruit, highlighting the fruity tangy coffees that we love, including many natural and honey-processed coffees.
We will bring forward more coffee fruit offerings, such as drinks made with cascara (coffee fruit flesh) and cascara chocolate. (In case you have had a bad experience with Starbucks’ cascara latte, rest assured, just as with the coffee “beans” the quality of the cascara makes a tremendous difference. We use only super-premium quality, direct trade cascara — the aroma alone tells you that this is something completely different.)
As for the mural at the back wall -it’s still in process, being painted by one of our talented customers, Kyle Smith. He’s combining mountains and plants from the Pacific Northwest and tropical countries like Guatemala. What you see now is just the first of about 5 layers of painting that he will create. The end effect will be something fantastic and fascinating – a combination, much like our cafes, of both the tropical origins of coffee and a Northwest sensibility.
Capitol Coffee Works on Capitol Hill
(click on each image to take a closer look)
It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood,
A beautiful day for a neighbor.
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?…
It’s a neighborly day in this beauty wood,
A neighborly day for a beauty.
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?…
I’ve always wanted to have a neighbor just like you.
I’ve always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you.
So, let’s make the most of this beautiful day.
Since we’re together we might as well say:
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
Won’t you be my neighbor?
Won’t you please,
Won’t you please?
Please won’t you be my neighbor?
song by Fred M. Rogers © 1967
A sincere and deeply heartfelt thank you to:
Pipo & Sebastian and staff at Capitol Coffee Works