Intelligentsia Expands To SF, Rebrands Ecco Caffe

Breaking today exclusively here on Sprudge.com – an official answer to the ongoing and long-rumored questions surrounding Intelligentsia Coffee’s wholly owned Bay Area roaster, Ecco Caffe, and their space on Potrero Hill.

As first reported by Eater in early 2010, plans have long been in the works for Ecco to move from their original location in Santa Rosa to a brand new “combination cafe and roastery” at 1125 Mariposa, in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill neighborhood. Sprudge has the official update as per Stephen Morrissey, Director of Marketing at Intelligentsia: “Ecco Caffe is merging with the Intelligentsia brand to become The Ecco Project.” In addition to that, the cafe / roastery space in Potrero Hill will now be a fully branded Intelligentsia roastery and cafe, called Intelligentsia San Francisco.

Sprudge spoke earlier today with Mr. Morrissey, who in three short questions effectively ended more than two years of speculation as to Ecco’s move to San Francisco, their continued role within the Intelligentsia brand, and Intelli’s plans for Potrero Hill.

Sprudge: Stephen, rumors are flying all over San Francisco. What is happening to Ecco Caffe?

Stephen Morrissey: Ecco Caffe is merging with the Intelligentsia brand to become The Ecco Project. In the same vein that our Black Cat Project handles everything espresso-related, the Ecco Project is designed to showcase the rare varietal, the auction lot, or the result of an experiment hatched between producers who met at our Extraordinary Coffee Workshop. Ecco Project coffees will also be a platform to introduce new Direct Trade relationships.

Sprudge: Can you tell us what’s happening next with the roasting space on Potrero Hill?

Morrissey: Our roasting location in Potrero Hill is well under way, and will open as Intelligentsia San Francisco. The roaster is installed and gas lines are connected. Our production floor is set up and we’ve started moving Intelligentsia’s inventory of green coffee in. We’re simply waiting on the final city inspections and expect to be fully operational within weeks. A coffee bar will open in the front of the space, and we’ll be announcing employment opportunities soon.

Sprudge: When is this all rolling out?

Morrissey: The roasting works will be fully operation by mid September. Ecco Project is not just a new exciting line for Intelligentsia, but a way to honor what Ecco founder Andrew Barnett has done for the coffee industry. To begin with, Ecco Project coffees will only be roasted at our San Francisco Roasting Works.

Watch Sprudge.com in the coming weeks for more updates and imagery from Ecco Project and Intelligentsia San Francisco.

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