About halfway between Seattle and Portland, Oregon, in a town peppered with historic buildings, a fresh business called Mint City Coffee Roasting is spearheading a local coffee movement.
Mint City welcomed the first guests into its 128-year-old, 6,000-square-foot building in downtown Chehalis, Washington, last month, following three years of renovations. Approximately 1,800 square feet of the building’s ground floor is dedicated to Mint City’s coffee shop, while its 800-square-foot roastery is in the back.
Mint City Co-Founder Jason Boettner told Daily Coffee News that when he and his wife, co-founder Shawna Boettner, first bought the building in 2017, they found layers of lath-and-plaster, sheetrock, drop ceilings, and outdated plumbing and electrical that all required removal or repair.
“We stripped everything down and brought the building back to its roots,” Jason Boettner told DCN of work restoring the building to Mint condition. “Original concrete, hardwood floors and exposed brick and floor joists are now exposed and we couldn’t be happier with the rustic look.”
Guests strolling in on the refinished floors can find plenty of spots to sit and enjoy drinks prepared through a La Marzocco espresso machine or a Curtis drip brewer.
Beans for those drinks are roasted on site in a 3-kilo Mill City Roasters machine by another co-owner and lead roaster, Kyle Askin. Askin’s wife, Sarah Askin, rounds out the ownership team.
Kyle Askin said he primarily turns to importer Genuine Origin for high-scoring green coffees, roasting them in search of balanced flavors that come together for a well-rounded offering shop and wholesale guests.
“I want the coffees that we offer to compliment each other,” Askin told DCN. “My main goal roasting coffee is to offer consistency in flavor. We will have a core set of roasts that will be very smooth and consistent that not only the community enjoys, but anyone really would.”
Short-term goals for the roasting operation include the addition of more single-origin coffees and the development of signature Mint City blends. The company is also planning to boost online sales through a subscription program.
The brick-and-mortar shop, meanwhile, adjoins the historic former Hotel Washington building, which includes the Vintage Grand Room, an event venue managed by the Boettners that may soon be connected to the coffee space.
“Renovations are pretty much complete; however, we do have a few little additions we’d like to make,” Jason Boettner said. “We also hope to host private events in the space upstairs and allow access through the coffee shop.”
Large sliding doors may also soon separate the coffee shop from the roastery, while still allowing views into the production area, which is the beating heart of the coffee business.
“We are striving for wholesale to be a major revenue stream for the company,” Boettner said. “We are working on local wholesale relationships within our community and hope to expand upon that.”
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Howard Bryman is the associate editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. He is based in Portland, Oregon.