Capitol Hill’s cafe culture will soon include a cooperative coffee shop. The Black Coffee Cooperative has announced it will open a “café space and infoshop” on E Pike in the former home of a cafe and head shop that went out of business earlier this year.
The cooperative has posted an invitation to see their new space and learn more about joining their collective cause:
We’ve found a space for Black Coffee on Capitol Hill, and we’re moving in right away! We’re holding a Cooperative gathering that is open to anyone and everyone who wants to join. Here’s what you’re in for if you attend:
- Sneak Peek at the space! Be amongst the first people to see our space, before its even finished, and lend your brilliance and creativity to the development of the space.
- Find ways to support Black Coffee! Learn about how you can support Black Coffee, now and into the future. There are wide opportunities, from becoming a worker-owner to helping us paint some walls.
- Drink some delicious coffee! We’ll have the coffee brewin’ for this meeting, so you can be the first to get a true cup of Black Coffee.
617 E. PIKE ST. SUNDAY, JULY 8TH 6-7:30PM
CHS has reached out to the cooperative to learn more about the group and its membership. According to his LinkedIn page, Scott Davis, a former barista at Trabant Coffee, is a partner in the co-op. Blog posts on the Black Coffee site indicate a search for space on Capitol Hill starting early this year that had the cooperative considering an E Olive Way location at one point.
The 617 E Pike location was formerly home to Kiss the Sky which CHS described as “part cyber cafe, part head shop” when it went out of business in March. There are currently no construction permit applications for the location.
While we don’t know much about the group yet, it has been going about its business in an extremely transparent way. Its Twitter feed @blackcoffeecoop has been active since February and providing regular updates on the search for a space for the project. In February, Davis posted about the early vision for the project here:
Black Coffee is a worker’s cooperative recently formed with the intention to create a café space & infoshop in Seattle. We are still in the initial organizing stages.
Black Coffee Coop is committed to a non-hierarchical structure of work & a not-for-profit model of commerce. All members of the Black Coffee Cooperative will have equivalent decision-making power, and we will be organized so that all workers contribute to the inner-workings and future-workings of the cooperative. Group decisions will be made by consensus, although not all decisions will be centralized – space will be preserved for autonomous contributions to the project.
In creating the Black Coffee Cooperative, the individuals that currently comprise it hope to create a number of beneficial tools, for example:
- a non-hierarchical workplace, where we have at least greater control of the application of our labor, and the pains of worker-exploitation are reduced.
- a “safer-space,” for those who don’t feel safe in streets patrolled by police, or amongst a public dotted with prejudice. This “safer-space” also extends to those who are concerned about repression of their political organizing efforts.
- a new info-shop and mini-library, with a future goal of providing the public with DIY copying/printing services.
- a physical space for events, meetings, or just drinking a brew with comrades.
vegetarian & vegan grub + vegan-style coffee & tea (no dairy) + beer
It’s been a busy few weeks for coffee news on Capitol Hill. Last week, El Portal cafe and roastery opened at 23rd and Madison. CHS also reported that the Central District’s Broadcast Coffee would be opening a Capitol Hill location later this summer. Meanwhile, Kaladi Brothers will unveil a new cafe space on E Pike later this year.
While the rents in the area may not be ideal for a cooperative venture, the Black Coffee project captures at least two active currents of Capitol Hill culture in the strength of the area’s cafes and a revival of more radical politics. In other words, the project should be right at home on E Pike.