Coffee. Bikes. Coffee. Bikes. Which one do Seattlites really love more? It’s a toss-up.
Thankfully, we don’t have to choose: The city is brimming with great spots that let you get your cycling and caffeine fix in one place. Here, the rundown of what each one serves up.
Convoy Coffee delivers beans by bike—and everything else they need to brew up some high-quality java right in front of you. After researching environmentally friendly food carts in the Netherlands and Malaysia, Alex Johnstone and David Rothstein decided they wanted to take a crack at doing the same thing right here in Seattle. And so they built a couple of carts, loaded them up with locally roasted coffee, attached their bikes and started Convoy (formerly known as Handlebar).
Johnstone and Rothstein pedal their 100-pound coffee carts to the University District Farmers Market every Saturday, the Ballard Farmers Market every Sunday, and run a stand at Impact Hub in Pioneer Square during the week. Each cup is made from single origin beans by pour-over, French press, or AeroPress.
Conduit Coffee Company
The folks at Conduit are A-plus coffee nerds who know a lot about the bean and have brewing a cup of joe down to a science, making the small roasting company a big-time player in Seattle’s coffee scene . While they don’t serve their coffee on site (except for Tuesdays, when they open up their studio to the public and you can take part in a coffee cupping), Conduit does deliver their goods to individuals, businesses, and cafés across the city. Via bicycle, of course.
As founder Jesse Nelson explains, delivering by bike enables the company to operate on a “hands-on human scale,” which allows them to better connect with the city around them. “We interact with our community so much more,” Nelson says. They have even been known to pick up new customers en route behind a stop sign.
From its beginning in 2011, Conduit has taken a self-reliant approach, doing everything from the roasting to the bagging and cleaning themselves. But now that demand for their coffee has grown, they’ve started to scale up. “I stopped doing 100 percent of the deliveries myself when it was starting to mean biking 60 miles in a day,” Nelson says. Now a team of four riders makes the rounds, from SoDo to Greenwood, twice a week.
“What’s up with the bikes?” Carlos Salmeron, whose business card states “owner & chief cyclist” at Ventoux Roasters, says that’s often the first thing people ask when they walk through the door. There are usually four or five bikes strung from Ventoux’s ceiling on any given day: a selection of Salmeron’s personal collection (he owns 22 in total, but rotates the decorations out so that he can ride them).
Salmeron’s love for cycling came before his love for coffee, but these days he tries to devote equal attention to each. He founded Ventoux, named after the infamous mountain in the Tour de France course, after working in software for nearly 10 years—during which he spent a lot of time on his laptop in coffee shops. As he became increasingly burnt out on the tech world, his interest in java grew, especially as he learned more about how coffee played in to his El Salvadorian family roots. So much so, that he decided to leave software behind, and about a year ago he opened up a roastery of his own.
Ventoux strives to be a community space and Salmeron hopes it can become even more of a go-to meeting point for Seattle’s cycling scene. His favorite rides? “I love going to Seward Park. I love going to Leschi. Or taking to Burke-Gilman through the U-District and Ballard to Golden Gardens,” Salmeron says. “There really are endless rides here.”
MiiR ’s flagship store, which opened in May 2015, is a great place to sip on a cappuccino in the morning, enjoy a cold one in the evening, or buy a high quality bike—all while helping to better the world. Each drink purchased at this super-hip joint in Fremont provides clean water to someone who needs it for a day, or you can provide that person clean water for a whole year by purchasing a MiiR’s water bottles or growlers. “Coffee and beer are such normal parts of people’s lives,” MiiR beer lead Christian Ostrom explains. “You don’t have to change what you do [to make a difference]—you just have to get those things here.”
The company began five years ago, selling its products online and through stores like REI, Whole Foods, and Patagonia. The focus was initially on providing clean water. But then MiiR’s founder, Bryan Papé, began to think about another major worldwide need: transportation. And so they partnered with World Bicycle Relief and the Boise Bicycle Project and began to sell bikes, too; each bike sold provides another one to someone in need.
Bikes and coffee are a pretty winning combo. The only thing that might be able to top it is bikes, coffee, and saving the world.