If you've ever had an espresso, there's a good chance your barista poured it from a La Marzocco machine. The 89-year-old manufacturer is a fixture in homes and restaurants everywhere, and was once the primary supplier for local giant Starbucks; thanks to that former relationship, Seattle became a home away from home for the Italian company, which has its North American headquarters in Ballard.
Now La Marzocco is cutting out the middleman at its first ever public café and showroom in global radio sensation KEXP's new home in Seattle Center. In the photos above, take a look at the 1,100-square foot space, which soft opened this week and officially launches tomorrow, April 16. Last fall Sprudge's coffee fiends published an in-depth interview with marketing director Whitney Cornell and experience manager Amy Hattemer about the project, which Cornell said is intended to be an "experiential destination for discovery and exploration."
The café will serve a variety of baked goods from The London Plane, and the showroom will feature an Espresso Lab for home enthusiasts to learn more about the equipment and even take classes. Historical archives and vintage machines are also on display.
A main attraction of the industrial-chic space, inspired by La Marzocco's factory in Florence as well as Italian coffee bars the company helped design in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, will be the "Roasters in Residence" program. Coffee companies from around the globe will have an opportunity to participate in one-month residencies, brewing their beverages, selling their beans, and "curating the coffee menu and integrating their educational programming within the space to engage the local and coffee community," according to a release.
Stumptown Coffee Roasters from Portland, Ore. is the launch partner through the end of May; other confirmed residents include G&B Coffee of Los Angeles; Buna of Mexico City; Campos Coffee of Sydney, Australia; Counter Culture Coffee of Durham, North Carolina; Intelligentsia Coffee of Chicago; Panther Coffee of Miami; Pilot Coffee Roasters of Toronto; Cat & Cloud of Santa Cruz; Coffee Supreme of Wellington, New Zealand; and Heart Coffee Roasters of Portland.
472 1st Ave N, Seattle, website. Open Monday to Saturday 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.