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Setting Sail 

Vessel Coffee Roasters thinks a lot about each cup

click to enlarge Vessel's lead roaster Jeremy Williamson finishes a batch of coffee at the company's newly opened space. - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • Vessel's lead roaster Jeremy Williamson finishes a batch of coffee at the company's newly opened space.

Some people think turning something you're passionate about into a job will make you hate it. Ike Bubna and Sean Tobin disagree.

Both Bubna and Tobin love coffee, and after being introduced by a mutual friend last September, they met over a cup and immediately began creating a plan for a wholesale roasting business and coffee shop.

Combining Tobin's experience growing up in Portland and roasting coffee out of his garage since he started high school with Bubna's experience working as the executive director of Street Bean — a nonprofit coffee shop in Seattle providing jobs and internships to at-risk youth — they readjusted the business plan Tobin had originally created with some friends to create what is now Vessel Coffee Roasters.

"Our vision and mission is to bring together these two things that Ike and I deeply care about — coffee and people," says Tobin.

Tucked away in the back room of a boarded-up building on Monroe last winter while the front part of the shop was under construction, Bubna and Tobin roasted beans and put together a menu incorporating quality ingredients. Vessel sources milk from Pure Éire Dairy in Othello and syrups from Holy Kakow in Portland.

Most of Vessel's roasts are lighter, highlighting the natural characteristics of what the coffee tastes like coming off the farm.

"Coffee is often thought of as a bean rather than a fruit, but it's delicate and we like to handle it well," says Tobin.

Referring to the new shop as the flagship store, Bubna and Tobin hope to eventually open a second, smaller location. They plan to begin offering youth internships in the next few months, along with eventually connecting with farmers to provide micro loans.

"We set out to create a place that engages the community, with people having conversations in here as well as sharing the gift of extraordinary coffee," says Tobin. "We wanted to have a part of our identities extended into a physical location, and that's kind of the result here." ♦

Vessel Coffee Roasters • 2823 N. Monroe • Open Mon-Fri, 6:30 am-5:30 pm; Sat-Sun, 7:30 am-5:30 pm • • 290-5051

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