After they’d met and married in Seattle, Fredy Montero, then a Seattle Sounder, and his wife Alexis returned to his native Colombia. He was on loan to Bogatá’s Millonarios. Alexis didn’t have a work visa, so being from one of the world’s major coffee cities and now living in one of its major coffee-growing countries (the third largest, after Brazil and Vietnam), she started taking coffee tasting and barista classes as a hobby.
The couple splits their time between Seattle and Vancouver, BC, where Fredy plays for the Whitecaps, and now they’ve turned their coffee hobby into a Seattle business. Santo Coffee Co. holds its grand opening Sunday, August 11 from 1–7. The first 50 people get a Santo-brand soccer ball, signed by Fredy. And if hand-painted denim jackets are your thing, the shop offers 10 during the opening.
Santo, located at 1325 NE 65th Street (a block south of Roosevelt High School), serves typically local things—tea from Miro Tea in Ballard, pastries from Sémillon Bakery and Cafe on Capitol Hill. But Santo sources all its coffee from Devoción, a New York–based company which roasts Colombian beans in New York and LA. Devoción flies its coffee into the U.S., instead of the standard, slower (more efficient) practice of sea shipping.
“Most companies bring their coffee beans in by boat,” Alexis says. “So it usually sits on the boat for at least 30 days.” The time from farmer to Santo will be about half that. Airfare might cost a bit more, but Santo's prices aren't too far afield: $4.15 for an eight-ounce cappuccino, $5 for the shop's "Signature Panela Latte," bumped with orange essence and Colombian sugar.
Once they were splitting their time between Washington and BC, the Monteros weren’t sure when their hope of opening a coffee shop would become a reality. But they met Mikhail and Jessica Ghyvoronsky—who became their fully local partners and who will run daily operations—while at church in Lynnwood in 2018. Santo Coffee Co. will be open Monday to Saturday 7am–7pm and Sundays from 8am–6pm.