Solomon Dubie's Ethiopian coffee shop Café Avole will open on March 12, exactly one year after its partially successful Indiegogo campaign ended. With the help of over $5,000 raised through the crowdfunding site, 27-year-old Dubie transformed Rainier Mini Mart.
The idea to open Avole first came to Dubie when he was a junior at Eastern Washington University. "I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do after college, and I've always wanted to create something big and meaningful," Dubie explains. "One morning an inspirational idea hit me to maybe explore coffee — and why not Ethiopian coffee? And that led me to the journey of Avole."
After finding that bank loans were hard to get and investors hard to find, though, the young entrepreneur chose to raise funding from his community.
His goals for Avole are to share and innovate Ethiopian coffee culture, introduce Ethiopian products, and to make an impact in global and community outreach, as well as to provide opportunities within a coffee organization.
While Seattle has no shortage of coffee, Dubie is hopeful that people will get to know the complex and interesting Ethiopian coffee culture. "People of Seattle should know that Ethiopian coffee is not only coffee beans from the birthplace of coffee, but that for Ethiopia and Ethiopians, Ethiopian coffee is what has fueled the economy's social way of life," Dubie says. "Farmers take pride in offering quality coffee that is shared and critiqued amongst each other and around the world."
The cafe's name comes from the traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony, which involves different brewing techniques throughout the process, with the first cup called the "Avole" — pronounced "A-bol."
During his time preparing for Café Avole, Dubie developed a network among big names in the coffee industry. "The first person I met whose passion for Ethiopian coffee inspired me was Mark [Barany] from Kuma Coffee Roasters," says Dubie. "Next was a local neighbor of mine who's been very supportive, Joya [Iverson] from Tin Umbrella Roasters, who also shares a passion for Ethiopian coffee. A great friend of mine, Pearl Nelson, is a coffee specialist at Vashon Coffee Company."
With the help of and sharing throughout his network, Dubie intends to source the best Ethiopian coffee beans. Customers will have access to various Ethiopian coffee beans at Avole, roasted locally. Dubie also intends to network internationally to expand his sourcing and further spread Ethiopian coffee culture.
"I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do after college, and I've always wanted to create something big and meaningful."
Dubie is also excited about offering green bean coffee, Ethiopian spices like berbera and mitmita, and shiro powder. The regular menu at Avole will include a variety of coffees, from espresso to iced, drip to pour over, and the classic Jebena buna preparation. The shop will also offer panini, soup, morning waffles, pastries, and Ethiopian ambasha bread.
Besides coffee, there will be Ethiopian wine and beer, and a special locally produced Ethiopian honey wine by Nebyou Solomon of Makeda Honey Wine. Local beer and wine will also be on offer at the cafe, which has a capacity of about 25. Dubie plans to add additional seating soon.
A grand opening celebration will take place on March 12 from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. with traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony, music, and a variety of products for sale.
6630 Rainier Ave S, (206) 721-2390, Facebook. Open Monday to Friday 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.