Roasted: An Inside Look into Seattle's Coffee Culture
The Pacific Northwest is filled to the brim with coffee (pun intended), with tried and true roasters and quirky-trendy coffeehouses permeating every major city. Seattle, the most famous city for coffee, is said to consume more java than any other American city with 35 coffee shops per 100,000 residents. It’s also home to the original Starbucks, and the social atmosphere throughout favorite local coffeehouses is unlike any other.
There are time-honored outposts like Espresso Vivace, where you can partake in full-bodied espresso shots and chat with true experts, and Victrola Coffee Roasters, a Jazz-era-inspired space that often hosts live music and art shows. Coffee drinkers can also be found in venues like the Tin Umbrella, set in the diverse neighborhood in Hillman City, and the ever-popular Caffè Umbria, where the Italian tradition of blending beans results in more than 15 varietals of coffee in some mixtures. Near The Woodmark in Kirkland, caffeine lovers frequent Urban Coffee Lounge and Zoka Coffee.
In any locale, it’s clear that the residents of Seattle embrace and encourage our coffee culture. And with the cooler weather forthcoming, we decided to take a look at the coffee roasting process to better understand how to create perfectly refined roast profiles and smooth blends. We checked in with the team at Dillanos Coffee Roasters to give us the inside scoop.
At the Woodmark, we serve local Dillanos coffee because we strive to provide visitors with an experience that is authentic and true to place. The Seattle-based coffee outpost believes in the human element of roasting—relying on sense of smell, touch, and feel to bring out a coffee’s inherent character. As their Director of Coffee, Phil Beattie says, “The art of roasting is developing the flavor; the science of roasting is repeating it.” Their high-quality coffee, with its distinctive, refined flavor, is a pleasure to serve to our guests, and here’s why:
At Dillanos, a batch of coffee takes about 18 minutes to roast, and the drum roasters can accommodate anywhere from 5 to 450 pounds per batch. Each roast is overseen by a roast master who relies on their highly trained senses to make adjustments to the process as they see fit. This is a crucial role, as small changes in temperature or timing can deeply affect the development of the coffee.
After 18 minutes, the coffee is transferred to a cooling bin with cold air blowing through the bottom and fins turning the 400- to 500-degree beans. The batch then drops into a vacuum system that is calibrated specifically to suck up the weight of a coffee bean—especially important with green coffee that comes from farms and may have picked up pebbles or other earthy content. Then, it’s off to packaging where employees hand seal every bag.
Throughout the entire process, the coffee is tended by people. And it’s those personal interactions from start to finish that define Dillanos. The company’s award-winning coffee selection is a result of the One Harvest Project, where coffee beans are purchased directly from coffee farmers in Central and South America, East Africa, and the South Pacific, and responsible growing practices are a must. “After receiving green coffee beans from all over the world, we’re sending roasted coffee beans [to other areas] all over the world” says Dillanos National Sales representative Glenn Adams. This favorable exchange allows the company to source great coffee beans while also contributing to opportunities for coffee farmers.
Not to mention, “We believe that when the farmers can count on a customer coming back, they have the freedom and the security to invest in their processes and innovate more,” says Lauren Lyddon, Dillanos Marketing and PR Specialist. “It’s doing good in the world, and we all do better together that way."
Dillanos coffee is available in coffee shops around the Seattle area including Drip City Coffee, Cafe Bambino, and Anthem Coffee and Tea in the South Sound. Woodmark guests can find Dillanos coffee in the restaurants, guest rooms, and lobby every morning.
Our particular selected blend, Special Dark, is also Glenn’s personal favorite. “It provides a great flavor profile as a black coffee,” he says. “I don’t need to add anything to it in order to have a great experience. It’s been my favorite for the past 18 years.” Dillanos' other bestselling blends are Dillon’s Blend, Entrepreneur Blend, and La Familia Guzman, a Peru blend.
At your next visit to the Woodmark, make sure you try a cup of Dillanos Special Dark coffee. We recommend taking in the view of the lake with a warm mug by the lobby fire.
All images courtesy of Dillanos