By Emily Hamann
The Bellingham Business Journal
The microbrewery crowd — used to sipping beverages at tables flanked by towering metal silos and pipes — should feel right at home at The Woods Coffee’s new roastery, which opened last month at its shop on Lakeway Drive.
The roastery and an attached cafe has its own La Marzocco Strada espresso machine where patrons can chat with baristas about the origin of the beans, the blend in their cup and the roast.
“If you’re looking for something that is less milk and more coffee, this is where you want to come,” owner Wes Herman said.
Woods switched from roasting at its offices in Lynden to roasting all its beans at its new roastery in Bellingham. The new, energy-efficient roaster can handle about 77 pounds of beans at a time.
An exhaust system sucks up the “dust” that can form a cloud around the green, raw beans, so employees don’t have to wear respirators while roasting, and customers can watch the whole process.
Near the entrance, two giant tanks can brew 300 gallons of cold brew coffee, in a system custom-designed by Herman’s son Taylor.
All the equipment cost around $500,000, Herman said.
The roastery takes up the half of the building that has sat unused since Woods moved in three years ago.
For a while, they looked for another business to move in next door, but eventually decided to build a roastery where customer could watch the work taking place.
“This was an effort to change the way roasting is done in our area,” Herman said.
This is just one of the big changes coming to Woods.
Last month the company unveiled its new logo, which will appear on all of its cups, signs and merchandise. It’s the first logo change since the company started 14 years ago.
Woods is set reach another milestone: the launch of its first shop outside Washington. A Woods Coffee is set to open in June in Tsawwassen Springs, a master planned community and golf course just north of Point Roberts in British Columbia.
Woods Coffee started in Lynden in 2002, as a learning experience from Herman and his wife to their four kids. He wanted to teach his kids how to start their own business. Six months later, the second location opened.
Now, the company has grown to 17 locations and three kids remain involved in the business. The Hermans grandchildren are looking forward to working in the cafe one day.