From Tacoma to Everett to Bellingham, we've been delighted to profile a number of exciting new Washington State cafe openings this year not located in the city of Seattle. But what about on the other side of the state? Spokane is enjoying something of a moment right now for food, art, and music, with a booming cafe culture helping fuel it all. We profiled the scene in depth back in 2013, and today we're happy to show off the newest member of a growing scene: this is The Roast House at My Fresh Basket in Spokane, Washington.
As told to Sprudge by Aaron Jordan.
For those who aren’t familiar, will you tell us about your company?
Roast House was founded on and remains committed to sourcing only sustainably grown, organic, and ethically traded coffees. We value planet and people as much as we value coffees with unparalleled clarity of flavor, liveliness, and sweetness. We pride ourselves on making buying choices that support forests, water quality, gender equality, food security, and the future of the planet. We are committed to crafting those beans into coffees that entice, illuminate, and satisfy our customers’ palates. To us, it’s pretty simple: we love coffee! We feel passionately about coffee. We love dreaming about coffee, roasting coffee, brewing coffee, talking about coffee, and drinking coffee.
Can you tell us a bit about the new space?
My Fresh Basket is a day-market experience in Kendall Yards—a new retail/living development near the heart of downtown Spokane, Washington. Patio views on the second story of the store overlook downtown and the Spokane River. A spacious patio on the main level will be equipped with heating lamps come fall and winter. Alongside full scale grocery offerings, the space at the market offers fresh-made juices and smoothies during the day, a small selection of wines for the evening, but the focal point is a sustainable and quality-driven coffee program.
Our menu is built around covering the “classics” with a few fun menu items to spice things up. “Two For Here, One For The Road” sets up folks looking to have a quick cup of coffee on the patio with a One & One (single espresso and single macchiato served with soda water on custom Saint Anthony Industries serving trays) and an eight-ounce drip to to go for the trip to the office. We also feature a selection of four single origin pour-overs brewed with Kalita Wave 185s, and the option of having any of those coffees as flash brew (brewed directly onto ice). All of our sauces—vegan caramel, chocolate ganache, and vanilla as well as a simple syrup—are made in-house and really elevate those iced drinks! Our tea menu features Tea & Company which is all organic and aligns with the core values we bring to coffee. We also feature a local-made chai tea from Mandala Chai Company, which is friggin’ delicious!
What’s your approach to coffee?
Our goal is to present the crazy-wonderful coffees that specialty coffee producers feature in a super approachable and enjoyable manner. At our roastery we have a complimentary tasting room. This has allowed us to serve both the coffee nerd who wants to geek out on various brew methods, brew ratios, and varietal tastings, and the newbie drinker ready to learn the difference between a natural processed and a washed coffee, an espresso and a pour-over. It’s not uncommon that a guest visits us and leaves extremely pumped—as much from the unique education experience as the multiple pours they sample with us. In this new buildout, being our first full-service retail space, our goal was to recreate that experience where guests can come grab a coffee on the run or stay and geek out on intricacies while being efficient enough to handle those pre- and intra-work day rushes! Our offering list always comprises a balance of structured and sessionable coffees with highlighted limited releases for those juicy and fruity offerings that dazzle us all.
Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?
This is the first retail location in the area with the Modbar Pour-Over system in it. We will be featuring four seasonally rotating single origin coffees on the menu. Our menu will always feature one crazy, “mouth party” of a coffee—think Geshas, fruit-bomb naturals, Kenyans…that sort of thing, a crisp and vibrant option along with two staple, rounded offerings, like sweetly layered coffees from Costa Rica, Peru, and those type of gems. Each coffee has a designated hopper with four Baratza Vario W next to the Pour-Over taps. Our opening offering list comes from Red Fox Coffee Merchants and Sustainable Harvest with some very exciting offerings come winter from Nordic Approach.
On espresso, we are featuring our ode to the O.G. of blends: Mocha Java using two Ethiopians (a washed and a natural) and a small percentage of a wet-hulled Sumatra. We pull it on a custom pressure profile on our two-group Modbar espresso system and our Compak E10 Master. We also feature this coffee on our ICB Bunn brewer for batch brewing—rotating on single origins every now and again to keep things fresh and exciting. Decaf offering is made possible by the fine folks at Swiss Water—we pull this at a lower pressure profile thanks to Modbar’s capabilities using a Baratza Sette 270W.
What’s your hopeful target opening date/month?
We had a soft open June 30th and Grand Opening July 21st!
Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you’d like to mention?
We had the great fortune of working with some fantastic people on this project. The physical space was laid out and designed with Tim and Dan Phillips of Food Market Designs. Our menu was a collaborative effort with Luke Baumgarten and Jacquelyn Barnes from We Are Treatment here in Spokane who did a knockout job! Serving trays for espressos, cappuccinos, macchiatos and One & One’s were made by the amazing Saint Anthony Industries, which go great with the bright red Acme Co cups we use for service. Through the facilitation of Black Rabbit Service Co we were able to feature Specht Design’s bad-to-the-bone walnut risers to lift our espresso taps for better bar flow. Will Frith and the whole Modbar team were fantastic at helping us dial-in installation and layout. All around, despite the chaos of a buildout, we had a wealth of talented and hardworking individuals that made it all possible.
No, thank YOU!