Drawing upon inspiration on design and service from numerous other California coffee companies, Stoble Coffee Roasters has opened a multi-level coffee mecca in Chico. A four-year buildout on a four-level downtown building led to Stoble’s first brick-and-mortar cafe, its new roastery and production headquarters, and a forthcoming co-working facility.
“We really wanted to make a space centered around the idea of community and bringing people together,” Stoble Coffee Co-Owner Matt Thiede told Daily Coffee News. “We had been super coffee nerds for a long time, and loved the idea of making specialty coffee something more approachable than what we had experienced in the past, as it can be a fairly intimidating world to step into.”
Customers can now step into the expansive space that blends industrial style with wood-filled warmth. Wood floors and 100-year-old brick walls frame the interior, which is brightened by streetside windows and a long skylight over a mezzanine level that was inspired by the original Sightglass Coffee roastery cafe in San Francisco’s SOMA neighborhood.
Found throughout Stoble shop — which comprises a below-ground level, the ground floor, the wrap-around mezzanine, and a rooftop deck — are pendant light fixtures made in Chico by ceramics maker Alex Marshall Studios. The studio also provided the shop’s distinctly shaped mugs.
Many of the shop’s tables, including a 20-foot community table on the ground floor, were made from locally sourced wood by the Chico outfit Bidwell Wood and Iron.
“We spent hours and hours on Pinterest and visiting nearly every coffee shop, cafe [and] restaurant in the Bay Area for ‘inspo,’ then we slowly refined and identified the aspects we were drawn towards,” said Thiede. “My personal favorite is the coffee bar. It’s a mix of textured ceramic tiles, walnut, quartz, and brass accents, and I love how it ended up turning out.”
Beans roasted in the company’s Loring Nighthawk roaster behind glass walls at the front of the shop are packed into retail bags in five broad categories (Flagship, Dark, Africa, LatAm and Decaf) with a concise description designed not to overwhelm buyers.
Far more info about each of those coffees can be found on the company’s website, where there are extensive descriptions about each coffee’s provenance and producers, including granular data for every coffee roasted such as processing methods, varieties, soil types, and the the names of import companies. All coffees are also tracked through Stoble’s constantly updated transparency report, which details every purchase and shares cup scores, FOB prices and C Market prices. The company also joined other roasters in a transparency pledge initiative.
“We had a lot of discussions, and conducted quite a few surveys on friends, about how people typically choose coffee at a store, which led us to keeping the bags more simple and direct,” said Thiede. “This has been a long and still ongoing debate, as to how we present our coffee to the customer. One of our key values is transparency, as last year we signed on as part of The Pledge, so we wanted to be as clear as possible about our coffees.”
For the in-person experience, Stoble takes a holistic “coffee as a service” approach, focusing on the customer’s personal experience with the the barista at the counter, their interactions with the physical space and furniture, the quality of the food, and the senses of satisfaction and connection they take with them as they leave.
Said Thiede, “Shops like Cat and Cloud Coffee in Santa Cruz are wonderful examples of this model, and to me, feels like the direction coffee is heading.”
More work remains to be done on the roughly 14,000-square-foot facility before the co-working element comes into full fruition. The company plans initiate membership sign-ups for use of a flexible workspace that will include 17 private offices, multiple conference rooms, a kitchen and lounge area, private phone booths, a variety of open workspaces, and plenty of coffee.
Said Thiede, “We’re really working to find ways to bring a sense of community to the space, so that everyone there feels that they belong.”
Stoble Coffee is open now at 418 Broadway St. in Chico, California.
Howard Bryman is the associate editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. He is based in Portland, Oregon.