First look inside The Lounge by AT&T and Ada’s Discovery Cafe

(Images: CHS)

Company executives were on Capitol Hill Friday for the telecommunication giant’s unveiling of its glossy new retail experiment, The Lounge by AT&T.

Morgan Collins, vice president for AT&T’s Pacific Northwest, Alaska, and Hawaii markets, tells CHS the company took the risk of trying to launch the new retail concept in an area like Capitol Hill because the neighborhood is home to “creative innovators.”

“I want us to be part of the community,” she said.

Another AT&T rep on hand put it more succinctly. “We are meeting people where they are.” Continue reading

The Lounge by AT&T will have a local guide in its Capitol Hill retail experiment — Ada’s Discovery Cafe

(Image: Ada’s Discover Cafe via Instagram)

For most of us, getting an email out of the blue from AT&T probably means that our bill is due. For Danielle Hulton of Capitol Hill’s Ada’s Technical Books, an email from the telecommunications giant this spring was an invitation to talk about a life and business changing opportunity.

“They’re evolving and want to be considered more of a tech company,” Hulton said of the conversations that started with that email. “In order to reach customers in places like Capitol Hill, a traditional retail store isn’t going to work.”

So, in the rare case of a corporate giant making a mutually beneficial pact with a locally focused neighborhood merchant, Hulton, her husband and business partner David Hulton, and the growing crew at Ada’s joined up with AT&T and a champion barista for a coffee-focused adventure in small business that pretty much only could play out here on Capitol Hill. Continue reading

Activist teaming up with performer for planned Capitol Hill vegan coffee shop

CHS has news of yet another vegan food+drink project coming to Capitol Hill. What this one is missing in specifics, it makes up for in character and radical sociopolitics.

“It’s about more than just ethics. A lot of people just aren’t aware of their food choices,” Ashton Gearhart tells CHS.

The vegan activist and Charlie Paws –porn and sex performer — and Gearhart’s roommate — are teaming up on a venture to create a vegan coffee shop on Capitol Hill. Continue reading

Kaladi Brothers Coffee making big move to its first E Pike location on the same block

June on Capitol Hill, Kaladi Brothers Coffee

Capitol Hill’s Kaladi Brothers is going back to its roots but the change won’t mean you have to head way up north to visit the Alaskan-born chain’s E Pike outpost.

Later this summer, the popular coffee shop will move back to where it began its life in Seattle — a few doors down in a part of the same auto row-era building being overhauled from Sun Liquor’s shuttered mini-bottling operation into a new cafe and community space.

“I’m super excited because the flow of the current cafe, there’s certain things that are a little disjointed,” Erika Zumwalt, manager of the Kaladi location, said. “People will come in and kind of look around and say ‘Oh! Gonna go somewhere else,’” Zumwalt said. Continue reading

Realfine Coffee makes Pride weekend debut on Capitol Hill

An E Pine cafe kicked back into motion Friday. West Seattle-born Realfine Coffee is now open next to the E Pine Rudy’s.

The opening puts the former home of Stumptown back into action after it was shuttered late this summer so the company could focus on its 12th Ave location. Continue reading

Victrola’s downtown cafe brings along Capitol Hill roots (and opportunity to make some big new giant retailer friends)

Born in 2000 on 15th Ave E, Victrola has survived neighboring competitive corporate mimicry — remember 15th Ave Coffee & Tea? — and downright overwhelming investment on a global scale. This week, the small chain of cafes has expanded into new Seattle territory directly in the maw of massive brands downtown at 3rd and Pine — and it has made some surprising alliances along the way.

Wednesday, Victrola opened its new cafe inside the Macy’s building, well off Capitol Hill.

Victrola’s Andrew Wheeler tells CHS one of the 15th Ave cafe’s earliest customers called that shop “the living room of the neighborhood.” It’s an ideal Victrola hopes to carry downtown. Continue reading

Starbucks stores including Roastery close for racial bias training across Capitol Hill, CD

(Image: Kate Clark via Flickr)

Starbucks cafes across First Hill, Capitol Hill, and the Central District including its specialty Roy Street Cafe and Melrose Reserve Roastery will close early Tuesday afternoon as part of a nationwide day of training.

“For several hours this afternoon, we will close stores and offices to discuss how to make Starbucks a place where all people feel welcome,” the company said in a Tweet earlier in the day. “Thank you for your patience and support as we renew our promise to make Starbucks an inclusive gathering place for all.”

Around 180,000 employees at Starbucks stores and at its Seattle headquarters will receive training that will “focus on understanding prejudice and the history of public accommodations in the United States.” Continue reading

CHS Pics | Pulling shots with Capitol Hill’s Babe Ruth of craft coffee

Founder — and one of the forefathers of Seattle’s craft coffee movement — David Schomer moved back behind the bar Wednesday to help celebrate Espresso Vivace’s thirty years on Capitol Hill.

The coffee expert — and metrologist and flautist — handled the lunchtime rush pulling free shots of Vivace’s Malabar roast and Ethiopian Sidamo at Vivace’s Brix location on Broadway. Thursday, he’ll join the crew at Vivace’s South Lake Union outpost.

Schomer’s technical approach to the art of coffee has earned him legendary status. If you have enjoyed a Schomer pull, it’s a little like getting to play catch with Babe Ruth.

“If you don’t thrill to make people happy with your art, find another job,” Schomer tells CHS, “because this is absolutely all about making people happy.”

Espresso Vivace: 30 years of artisanal coffee on Capitol Hill

This week, Capitol Hill’s Espresso Vivace celebrates thirty years in business with a reinvention of its mission — and free shots. From its genesis as a Broadway coffee cart to its current incarnation comprising two storefronts, a sidewalk stand, and a 5,000-square-foot roasting plant, Vivace has established a reputation for technical excellence in coffee preparation. They were on the vanguard of the artisan espresso revolution, educating both industry and customers and defining expectations for high-end coffee from flavor to equipment to the foam art in your latte. At this three-decade milestone, Vivace now shifts course to emphasize their roasting capabilities.

“We’d really like to reach out to people to let them know how phenomenal this roast is,” says David Schomer, who founded Vivace in 1988 with his then-wife/still-partner Geneva Sullivan, “The precision with which you can brew coffee leads to your ability to detect where the caramelized sugars in the original flavors are at their maximum development for each bean.”

Schomer has a way of launching into deep-dive digressions about the exacting science of espresso with little provocation. He’s a student of coffee who also wrote the book on it, literally; his 1995 guide Espresso Coffee: Tools, Techniques and Theory is now in its third printing and has been translated into Korean, Japanese, and Russian. He also makes tutorial videos and teaches classes for professional and home baristas. Continue reading

Intrigue Chocolate and Coffeehouse warms up at 15th and Madison

Chocolate and coffee? Intriguing.

The new Intrigue Chocolate and Coffeehouse has been warming up with some test runs serving friends and family at 15th and Madison. Neighbors should be able to stop through for a quiet opening later this week as things get fully up to speed at the new cafe.

Aaron Barthel and Karl Mueller started Intrigue in Pioneer Square as a forum for chocolate as an art, not a science. “Aaron likes to use chocolate as a medium to express what he knows about flavor,” Mueller told CHS when we talked to him in October about their plans for 15th and Madison. Continue reading