Ghost Note Coffee opens today, March 14, in the old Broadcast Coffee Roasters space on Capitol Hill, and thus Seattle welcomes another addition to what we're calling Wave 3.5 of Coffee—specialty shops delivering thoughtful non-coffee offerings with the same intentionality as the coffee itself.
The Bellevue Ave location aims to separate from its peers with a relatively novel approach to brewed coffee: Instead of drip, pour-overs, Aeropress, or other more common methods, Ghost Note will brew every cup to order via an espresso machine custom built by the French manufacturer Unic. With a push of a button, the cashier "pulls" a 12-ounce cup at a set pressure and temperature, mimicking the body and balance of a pour-over.
If this automation sounds a bit like Starbucks, that's sort of the point, says co-owner Christos Andrews, formerly of Tougo. Think commuter-friendly speed with specialty coffee results. (Brew quality is tested with a doohickey called a refractometer that I won't try to explain here.) So "even if you come in during a rush you can get a brewed-to-order cup in less than two minutes."
Ghost Note will also have a standard espresso machine for the usual fare, with all coffees roasted by former tenant Broadcast.
Like other 3.5ers Anchorhead, Métier, Vif, and newcomer Cherry Street Public House, expect Ghost Note's food offerings to be a step above the standard pastry case. A selection of toasts using bread from Columbia City Bakery, pastries from Salmon Berry Goods baked in house, and Alexandra's Macarons round out the opening day menu.
Consider the little things, too. Handmade espresso cups, employee dress code ("We're not repping bow ties. Just a clean, professional look."), and zero tipping all come together for an experience just different enough to alone warrant a exploratory visit.
"We had a lot of ideas of service and aesthetic that I didn’t feel like were being expressed," says Andrews. "So I came to the conclusion that I just had to do it."