If my interview with Roy Street Coffee and Tea manager Jacob Webber taught me anything, it’s that despite being a much better coffee shop than your typical Starbucks, Roy Street Coffee and Tea is still a Starbucks.
Jacob describes the store as his “pipe dream,” and seemed really excited about all the new features they’re trying out in the store, like their new Synesso espresso machine, and a pull down movie screen to host film showings for local filmmakers. He said a lot of positive things and really seemed committed to making the concept work.
On the other hand, Jacob said he didn’t know much about Capitol Hill, he didn’t have much to say about the well established coffee scene on the Hill, beyond “they make great coffee”, and he didn’t offer direct responses to any of the criticism they’ve been getting from many in the community — namely that it’s disingenuous to not display the Starbucks name, and the clipboard observers that were spotted in neighboring business.
This seeming lack of connection to the neighborhood isn’t a deal breaker for me. As I’m sure people will point out in the comments, it’s just coffee after all. But the vague and corporate sounding responses served as a reminder that despite the hype, and the much-improved ambiance, coffee and food, this is really just another Starbucks… nothing to get too excited about, but also nothing really worth protesting. It is a new piece of Capitol Hill, though, so check out the interview and hear for yourself what Jacob had to say about Roy St Coffee.
Jacob introduces the new store, and explains why they chose to locate on Capitol Hill
I asked Jacob what was missing in Capitol Hill coffee scene that Roy St C&T can deliver. And he shares his impressions of the neighborhood.
Jacob responds to criticism that they are being disingenuous by not using the Starbucks name.
Jacob responds (kind of) to criticism of Starbucks “observers” that were spotted at nearby local businesses, taking notes before the opening of the 15th Ave Store