A new coffee shop brings java from across the country and a hip city feel to Walnut Creek.
By Cali Godley
When Justin DiMauro opened his Walnut Creek coffee shop in April, he raised more than a few eyebrows. He chose a location doors away from a popular Peet’s Coffee and Tea. He favored exposed wood, metal, and modern decor over warm and cozy accents. And DiMauro eschewed any hopes of Google-ability by naming his new place simply Coffee Shop.
“We did a lot of things upside down,” DiMauro admits. (Literally: Coffee Shop’s sign features an upside-down logo.)
But the risks paid off, and Coffee Shop’s long wooden communal tables and leather chairs are frequently packed with patrons waiting for their fix from steaming Slayer espresso machines or the pastry case, which features many treats made in-house. And while the staff takes the coffee seriously—Coffee Shop sources its beans from revered roasters across the country—you won’t find any coffee snobbery here.
“In my experience, some places sneer when you ask for cream or a sweet drink,” says DiMauro. “It’s not my place to tell you what to do. Sometimes, you just need to have an orange coconut latte!” coffeeshop411.com.
For more on Coffee Shop, scroll down.
Q: Why the name Coffee Shop?
A: “Before we had a name, we would keep saying, ‘When we open the coffee shop we should do this’ and ‘The coffee shop should have that.’ We could never find a name that really pinned down what we do. So we decided to go with Coffee Shop and make it more about the roasters than our personal brand. It’s really a celebration of what they do.”
Q: Your shop looks like it’s right out of New York City—did you draw a lot of influence from there?
A: “People have told us the shop reminds them of Portland, Seattle, New York—they’ve asked us why we aren’t located in San Francisco. We have taken some inspiration from these cities, but why can’t it be in Walnut Creek? There’s a lot of cool stuff going on here—lots of development and things popping up. Let’s get some culture out here, some new products.”
Q: Why did you choose to offer beer and wine at a coffee shop?
A: “Coffee has such a big flavor tasting wheel people say, ‘It’s just like wine!’ The process of growing the berries and making the coffee brings out different flavor profiles just like with beer and wine. So in a craft kind of way, it is a natural pairing.”
Q: What’s different about Coffee Shop? Why go there instead of Peet’s or Starbucks?
A: “To learn about coffee. We’re probably the only place to go to try 10 different coffees from 10 different roasters. I make sure I have that information for people instead of just telling people what I think. We’re here to educate the customers and learn ourselves; everyone under this roof is learning.”
Q: What’s up with the handstand guy in your logo?
A: “That’s just something one of our people drew up. We thought it kind of captured the feel of the place. We did a lot of things upside down, like the 10 different coffees from 10 different roasters and opening up right down the street from Peet’s.”
Three Other Reasons to Try Coffee Shop
Perfect Pastries: Almost all of Coffee Shop’s baked goods are made in house, including the daily-changing pop tarts, in flavors ranging from nutella banana to goat cheese and raspberry.
Boozy Brews: Add a kick to your coffee: You can choose from two hot and two cold coffee cocktails. Try a Cherry Bulldog (made with Hangar 1 vodka, chilled espresso, Frank’s birch beer, and cream), or the Bulleit Proof—a play on the cult bulletproof coffee—that includes a shot of Bulleit bourbon.
Traveling Tastebuds: Coffee Shop gets its beans from eight core roasters, who source from as far as Tanzania and Colombia. It’s also one of the few places in Contra Costa you can find organic pressed juices from Project Juice and Oakland’s pressure-brewed Black Medicine Iced Coffee.