Killer Build Out: Heart Roasters


Editorial Policy

Published on

Last updated on

[O]ld drum roasters have a way of becoming the dominant character of a room. With their round faces, eye-like windows, and trier handles that, through a squint, could double as noses, they’re well built to be dressed in personalities. One roaster became a locomotive conductor to me in a split second, and I think of trains when its home café is mentioned. During a meeting at Heart Roasters, the Probat UG15 slowly transmogrified into a rotund, black-robed professor reading a lecture through a monocle.

The character is more than my imagination scampering away from me. The seating space at Heart’s southeast Portland café bulges and bends around the roaster, which while not in the middle of the café is the gravitational center. Then there’s the elegant crescent table that curves around the roaster’s cooling tray. The customers sitting along it on hard-backed school chairs, busy at their notebooks and MacBooks, resemble attentive students in a tiny auditorium.

(Photos: Cory Eldridge.)

The result is one of the most intimate and performance-like roasting experiences out there. Rebekah Yli-Luoma, who owns Heart with her
husband, Wille, says the roaster was placed out on the floor to maintain the IMG_73941open build of the café and lend the roasting more transparency. With transparency, though, comes accessibility. The table, while a gorgeous piece of furniture, was meant to double as a barrier. While it kept handsy customers from burning themselves, it didn’t stop inquisitive chatterboxes from distracting the roasters. A year ago, a “don’t disturb” sign had to go up.

Even still, the space allows a phenomenal amount of learning. Customer education, as is said over and over, is a vital part of specialty coffee, and those who sit at Heart’s C-shaped table are front row to an iron professor.

Cory Eldridge is Fresh Cup’s editor.

Share This Article

Cory Eldridge

Join 7,000+ coffee pros and get top stories, deals, and other industry goodies in your inbox each week.

Other Articles You May Like

With Flowers and Plants, These Coffee Shops Are Bringing The Outdoors In

Jessica Han had always been drawn to flowers and coffee. For years, she dabbled in floral arrangements as a side hobby in her hometown of San Jose, California, making bouquets for friends and family…
by Haley Greene | May 25, 2023

Are Shipping Container Coffeeshops Here To Stay?

While storage container coffee shops were initially deemed a passing trend, many entrepreneurs worldwide have found remarkable success with this unconventional café concept.
by Zoe Stanley | May 17, 2023

How Coffee Shops Make Standout Design Choices

First impressions matter—are you creating the experience your customers crave? Here’s what to think about when designing your café.
by Haley Greene | April 26, 2023

Mourning The Coffeeshops We’ve Lost

In March 2020, thousands of coffee businesses were forced to close their doors—some never reopened. This is in memory of all the shops we’ve lost.
by Valorie Clark | March 29, 2023