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Seattle Coffee Fest Best Espresso
Christos Andrews and David Yake from Tony's Coffee with Coffee Fest Seattle's Best Espresso prize.

What do you do when you take the top espresso prize at Coffee Fest Seattle this year?

Keep roasting.

After competing among a hearty field of great coffee roasters at Coffee Fest, Tony’s Coffee ran away with the honors, but they aren't stopping there. They're excited as ever about their future.

“We'll be rolling out our Winter Seasonal Blend in a couple of weeks. We'll have some new single origin coffees on the menu in the upcoming months and in February, we are planning on competing in Brewer's Cup,” said Erik Evenson, manager at Tony’s Coffee in Ballard.

I recently dropped by to see Erik, check out their coffeehouse and cupping lab in the Ballard/Phinney Ridge area of Seattle.

On a gray and drizzly morning, Erik and I chatted about roasting,  coffee cupping, and the vision that Tony’s Coffee has: sharing their coffee and expertise with anyone who wants to try it.

That's right, they love sharing their coffee with the world.

Making The Coffee Scene More Comfortable

I asked Erik how seasoned coffee professionals should approach new people who would like to experience the coffee scene and he had much to say:

“The first thing we need to do is get rid of the notion that there is a right or perfect way to make coffee,” he tells me as I sip on an espresso he just pulled for me.

“That’s an error in thinking,” he continues. “Like Bob Ross (the late happy oil painter on public television) once said, ‘There are no mistakes, only happy accidents.”

“That’s how you innovate: When you operate under the assumption that there is no right or wrong way.”

I agree with Erik. While there are plenty of passionate people roasting, brewing, and pulling espresso shots, many of them have their “preference” or even conviction about how to roast or brew – but certainly there is no “right” way. And I think that type of perspective opens the doors for many on the periphery of the coffee scene to come in and enjoy coffee without feeling uncomfortable or out of place.

Tony's Coffee in Ballard
Erik Evenson is the manager at Tony's Coffee in Ballard.

Tony’s Coffee, which has been roasting for over 40 years in Bellingham, recently decided to tip their toes in the Seattle Coffee Scene, moving into their Ballard location under a year ago.

It was a move that was geared for helping their wholesale accounts with trainings and cuppings in the local area as well as serving a great Seattle neighborhood first hand.

Tony’s Coffee offers free and public cuppings every Saturday, between 12-1pm. It’s a great way to be able to taste a variety of coffees and ask questions in a casual and unintimidating environment. If you're interested in trying a variety of their coffees and asking questions on brewing at home, you should try to attend one of their cuppings.

“We like to turn people onto how a simple process it (brewing excellent coffee) is  and that you can do it yourself.”

For more information Tony's Coffee, visit their website here.


For a more in-depth interview, check out their audio podcast interview with me here.

Below is the map and location of Tony's Coffee & Cupping Lab in the Ballard/Phinney area of Seattle:
Tony's Coffee in Ballard

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Tony\'s Coffee in Ballard 47.679738, -122.360700