When CHS first walked into Roy Street Coffee and Tea this morning shortly before 7 am, the place was bustling.
According to Major Cohen, Senior Project Manager and a key proponent of these “inspired by Starbucks” cafes, the first group to arrive were the coffee nerds (our characterization – not his). Many in the group were excited to try the Panama La Esmeralda (CHS sampled this brew and it was one of the best cups of coffee we’ve had in a while) and other Clover beans. As we searched for a table, a bunch of them were excitedly discussing coffee, machinery and methods at a communal table. The morning crowd was composed of Starbucks corporate family members (those visiting from corporate included CEO Howard Schultz ), well-to-do older couples from North Capitol Hill, curiosity seekers, I-5 shores residents and those of us in search of good coffee and free wi-fi.
Starbucks PR agency Edelman emphasized to us that this is the second LEED certified Starbucks store and that all of Starbucks new stores henceforth will aim to be LEED certified. For you trivia hounds, the first Starbucks store to be LEED certified was in San Diego. Liz Muller, who is chiefly responsible for the design of the store, acknowledged to us that many of the design elements in the store were inspired by the Loveless Building across the street. The 3600 square foot space maintains flow and cohesion nicely for such an expanse. The large windows take advantage of the view of the Loveless Building and the North Broadway street life. Red and brown velvet curtains and fringed overstuffed velvet chairs lend a theatrical air to the place – but have the useful function of providing privacy and diminishing ambient noise. Music hewed closely to adult contemporary with occasional hip hop and an alternative track or two thrown into the mix.
Similar to 15th Avenue Coffee an Tea, this is an “inspired by Starbucks” store. Barristas do not wear Starbucks uniforms, the coffee and tea offerings are more extensive than at other Starbucks stores, and the bakery treats are from Essential. Like 15th Avenue, Roy Street will offer daily cuppings (the ones here will be at 2 pm) and free wi-fi. Note that, both 15th Avenue (as of two weeks ago) and Roy Street accept Starbucks cards. One significant difference is that Roy Street is able to offer a larger food menu (their refrigeration area in this space holds more) – including Tom Douglas soups.
If you visit Roy Street, let us know what you think. Some impressions from Twitter:
kevinseattle: checked it out this AM and was dissapointed how impressed I was. I think nearby local coffee shops really need to be worried :-(
smoovebcoffee: Less idiotic comments this time w/ Roy St Coffee. Locals get it-it’s not about media, just coffee and a space to enjoy it.