It’s been said that Rome wasn’t built in a day. But for Superofficial (stylized as “superofficial”) in Rome, New York, the real building underway is happening in the community, amidst a thriving arts and culture scene in central New York. In some ways this is a tale as old as time here at Build-Outs, in which a little coffee cart does good, then grows up to become a proper brick and mortar, but we see this as being equally indicative of a trend we did *not* see coming at the start of this season: an influx of great new coffee bars across New York state.

The 2022 Build-Outs of Coffee is presented by DriposDona, and Mill City Roasters. The 2022 Build-Outs of Coffee is sponsored by La MarzoccoPacific Barista SeriesAcaia, Cropster, and Marco Beverage Systems.

As told to Sprudge by Caitlin Matwijec-Walda.

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For those who aren’t familiar, will you tell us about your company?

superofficial is a specialty coffee shop in upstate New York that looks to marry big-city coffee culture with small-town arts district vibes. The only specialty coffee shop in Rome, NY, superofficial is in a shared space with The Copper Easel, an art gallery and supply shop. We recently opened our brick-and-mortar location in Spring 2022, after “opening” as a traveling coffee cart in 2020 for pop-up events. superofficial is owned by Jonathon and Caitlin Matwijec-Walda.

Can you tell us a bit about the new space?

superofficial shares a space with The Copper Easel art gallery within the Capitol Arts Complex. The Capitol Arts Complex is a multi-space venue anchored by a recently renovated 1928 historic theatre and indie cinema. Downtown Rome is currently undergoing a drastic revitalization fueled by a New York State DRI grant.

Growing from the Copper Easel’s existing “copper” theme, the colors within the shared space are copper patina green, baby pink, and light grey. This historic location has the original tin ceiling, wooden floors, and plaster walls, all refreshed during our five-month renovation period. While the bar is small, it’s very eye-catching, using bright colors, unconventional materials, and paint-splattered countertops. The walls boast a a broad array of local art that is constantly changing, making each visit to the space unique.

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What’s your approach to coffee?

Simply put, our approach to coffee is that it should be good AND welcoming. We want to bring the full specialty coffee experience to even the most mundane drink, and to the most casual drinker, each and every day. In an area with a very limited specialty coffee presence, it’s critical to us that we create an elevated experience that appeals–not restricts or excludes.

Part of this starts with our partnership with Sey Coffee. All of their coffee is single origin, sourced from small, 95+ point lots and roasted on a short-term basis. This means our high quality coffee selection is constantly changing, always asking us to consider: what does this coffee’s profile require of us as the people brewing and serving it? Is this better for a milk drink, for espresso, for concentrate, for batch brew? How can we make this coffee shine not just for specialty coffee drinkers, but for people that don’t know anything about coffee?

With these questions always at the forefront of our mind, it makes it easy for us to be ready to approach each customer’s unique wants and desires. We want specialty coffee to benefit everyone–not just the people already in the know!

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Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?

We have partnered with Ground Control for our batch brewing and concentrate brewing, and since receiving our machine at the end of May, have received a ton of positive feedback from our customers for the clean, smooth brews it produces. We also use a La Marzocco Linea for our espresso, which is an industry classic for good reason! We have a Mahlkönig EK43s and E56s for our grinders. Our coffee partner is Sey Roasters out of Brooklyn, which offers the highest quality single origin coffees on an ever-changing basis. We selected Sey for our coffee program for their commitment to sustainability and high standards.

How is your project considering sustainability?

superofficial is very invested in finding ways to make our cafe more sustainable. To start, we’re part of the Huskee cup swap program, offering our customers reusable coffee cups made out of coffee husks and resin.

Our coffee sustainability is fueled in two ways. We use a Ground Control brewer, which reduces the amount of coffee needed to make everything from batch brew to coffee concentrates, reducing demand and waste. Second, we work with Sey Coffee Roasters, which is deeply invested in sustainable coffee practices in a multitude of ways, from transparent pricing to reinvesting in sustainable farming practices.

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What’s your hopeful target opening date/month?

We opened in May, 2022.

Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you’d like to mention?

A lot of this build was self-constructed, but there was a lot of support from local artisans for some final creative elements. Our cabinets were decorated by local artist Rebecca Petrie; Kayla Spivey handmade ceramic tiles for our backsplash. Additional creative input came from Adam Chrisman, Copper Easel owner, local artist, and President of the Rome Art Association.

Thank you!

superofficial is located at 216 West Dominick Street, Rome. Visit their official website and follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

Photos by Eric Covey

The 2022 Build-Outs of Coffee is presented by DriposDona, and Mill City Roasters. The 2022 Build-Outs of Coffee is sponsored by La MarzoccoPacific Barista SeriesAcaia, Cropster, and Marco Beverage Systems.

Explore every last Build-Out over the last decade in our archives.