published March 31, 2016
On March 28, 2016 the doors will open on a first for coffee-crazy Whatcom County:
An open-view coffee roasting facility at The Woods Coffee location on Lakeway Drive (just east of I-5 exit). As announced by CEO Wes Herman (above left) and Head Roaster Shea Hagan (right), a Grand Opening is scheduled for April 16.
Seating includes a few tables and a coffee tasting bar at which patrons will have an open view of two processes: one, the company’s shiny new stainless steel roaster, and two, the 12-hour brewing of The Woods’ proprietary, certified organic Cold Brew.
“The expanded seating area will allow our guests to feel like they are right in the middle of all the action,” Herman said. “Our 300-gallon Cold Brew production area will feel somewhat like a micro-brewery.”
Take a wild guess where much of the R&D took place for the Roastery concept. “Some of our staff and I frequently visited Starbucks’ new facility like this in Seattle,” Herman said. “We’d stay all day and take notes on good ideas, and what we might do different. I’ve always said openly that all of us in this industry owe a debt of gratitude to Starbucks for making possible all the opportunities we have.”
While moving the roasting operation, The Woods Coffee will retain its headquarters and in-house bakery in Lynden. The company’s director of coffee and head roaster, Hagan said, “I’m very excited about these new steps of the Roastery and brew bar to keep expanding on quality and experience.”
Hagan is one of the highest credentialed roasters in the U.S. as a certified taster, judge, and barista trainer. He previously has worked at Illy in London, England, and for Portland Roasters and for Moka Joe’s when it was in Bellingham. “We will focus on highest-quality, fresh seasonal coffees exclusively at Roastery as an espresso or pour-over and to purchase by the bag,” he said.
Roastery also will stage cuppings. “We’re moving our very best baristas to Roastery,” Herman said. “That will create seven or eight new jobs at other locations.”
The Woods Coffee also is opening its 18th coffee shop this month, and the first in Canada. In partnership with White Spot parent company Shato Holdings Ltd., the new location will serve at the Tsawwassen Springs Golf Club in British Columbia.