Sipping a locally crafted cup of joe in downtown Bellevue just got a lot easier. Fonte, a Seattle coffee roasting company has opened a new location at The Hyatt Bellevue where Tully’s Coffee used to be. While customers currently can buy coffee there, the dining room officially opens on Aug. 30.
Fonte is best known for its coffee beans that are sourced from around the world and sold wholesale to luxurious hotels and restaurants. Although, anyone can purchase the coffee online. Other locals might know it from its café and wine bar in downtown Seattle which opened in 2009.
The two guys behind Fonte’s coffee operation, visionary Paul Odom and master roaster Steve Smith, are a couple local coffee fanatics who want customers to know just how good coffee can taste. Instead of programming a computer to cycle through a roast, Smith has each batch down to a personalized science. He has nearly 40 years of experience studying different kinds of coffee beans and perfecting each roast. Both Odom and Smith take pride in their coffee that tastes specific to each unique region. When it comes to knowing how complex coffee can be, these guys are experts.
“Because it’s an agricultural product, it’s never always the same so you’re constantly always striving. I had this Kenya (coffee) in 1993 that was unbelievable and that Kenya has been locked in my mind as the benchmark and I’m always going for that,” said Odom.
At any point in time Fonte is sourcing coffee from 20-25 places around the globe. And the location where their beans are selected is always changing; like the menu at a local farm-to-table restaurant. Odom is excited about interrupting the string of coffee shop chains that serve downtown Bellevue.
“Most of the coffee bars that are on the Eastside that I notice, they’re all chains. Let’s face it, a chain isn’t the same thing as an independently operated coffee bar,” he said.
Smith says that new customers should order their typical coffee choices at Fonte for the first couple of times. But if you’re feeling adventurous, Fonte offers a list of specialty drinks. He recommends their Turkish latte – a spicier version of the classic – and the cold brew. Or ask whoever is pouring drinks. With these guys, there’s a lot to explore.
“In our world, you can geek out pretty easily,” said Odom.