Broadcast Coffee served its last cup of joe on Bellevue Avenue in Capitol Hill last Tuesday, passing the keys to Christos Andrews the very next day to begin renovating the space for Ghost Note.
Andrews sat down with the Capitol Hill Times on Jan. 30 to talk about how his first shop will differ from Broadcast, and likely many other coffee klatches around Seattle.
Andrews has been heavily involved in the Seattle coffee scene for nearly a decade.
Most recently, Andrews was coffee director for Columbia City Bakery, which will be providing Ghost Note with baked goods — the goal is to open in March.
Prior to that, Andrews was coffee director at Tougo Coffee and worked at Neptune Coffee before that.
He won the America’s Best Espresso contest at Coffee Fest in 2013 while representing Tony’s Coffee.
Broadcast Coffee owner Barry Faught is one of Andrews’ oldest friends in Capitol Hill, he said. Andrews had been planning his own shop with business partner Lee Hampton for several years. As everything began gaining traction, he said he mentioned his plans to Faust, who wanted to put more focus into opening a new roastery in the Central District.
“It’s cool,” Andrews said of the new Broadcast headquarters at 25th and Jackson. “I went in the other day. It’s pretty cool what’s going on in there.”
Taking over the Capitol Hill Broadcast means Andrews won’t be developing Ghost Note from the ground up, he said, “which will save me a whole lot of time and energy and money and all that.”
He already has his beans coming from Broadcast Coffee, and Andrews said there are no immediate plans to add another supplier.
There will be new bar and side seating, and a much needed bathroom renovation, Andrews said. New equipment was set for installation on Feb. 1.
UNIC Espresso is customizing one of its machines for making low-pressure coffee that can be brewed to order in about a minute, Andrews said.
Little touches that improve the customer experience are what define Ghost Note, Andrews said. Things like custom-made cups by Curtis Yu, having staff wear apron-based uniforms, or garnishing certain drinks with herbs or citrus peels.
“It’s the same drink, but you’re doing something really small, to give it a better aesthetic value,” Andrews said.
He and Hampton used to play in a band together. The shop’s name, Ghost Note, reflects both their business model and love of music.
“In music, it’s a note that has rhythmic value, but no melodic value,” Andrews said.
After consulting with a sommelier friend about wine and flavor profiles, Andrews said he’s adding glassware of varying shapes that will bring out the aromatics and body of certain brews.
Ghost Note’s menu is still being developed, but currently includes toasts with sweet and savory toppings, made with baguettes from Columbia City Bakery, and pastries from Salmonberry Goods.
Andrews said he’s seen some backlash from the decision to not allow tipping and, instead, include a 10 percent gratuity. Several Seattle restaurants have done something similar recently, but Andrews said he thinks Ghost Note may be the first coffee shop.
“Coffee professionals are notoriously underpaid,” he said, “even the really professional ones.”
Andrews believes starting employees at $16 an hour, offering performance-based raises, paid holidays and mandatory two weeks of paid time off will boost employee morale, and not have them fighting over shifts based on times of day when people are more gracious tippers.
“We think that’s a pretty good deal,” he said.
Watch for Ghost Note developments on Instagram.