A decades-long dream for Jim Stewart, who founded a coffee company and now serves as a mentor to the Vashon Island Coffee Roasterie, recently came true.
Last month, the Roasterie crafted a coffee specifically to be served for a short time at Canlis, the high-end Seattle restaurant that’s widely regarded as one of the finest eateries in the city.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Stewart, founder of Seattle’s Best Coffee who today serves as the Roasterie’s coffee broker and as a mentor to Roasterie owner Eva DeLoach.
“In terms of business volume it’s not very much, but the fact that it happened is like being knighted,” he said.
Stewart said he has wished to offer his coffee at Canlis, a favorite restaurant of his, for years, and he courted three generations of owners of the family restaurant. In the mid-1990s he hand-wrote a six-page letter to the owner explaining why Canlis should serve his beans. The owner replied that when the time came he would consider it.
The time finally came this year, when Canlis decided it would focus on a different coffee-growing region of the world each quarter. The Roasterie was able to schedule a cupping with a Canlis representative, and the restaurant chose a light roast with beans from Stewart’s wife’s Costa Rica estate.
Stewart says he hopes the Roasterie will keep up the its new relationship with Canlis, perhaps offering coffee for its next focus — Sulawesi, Indonesia and Kenya, Africa.