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Public Espresso opening West Side coffee shop

Public Espresso, a local coffee roasting company that started selling its beans a year ago, is opening its own shop on Grant Street.

Public Espresso will aim at being an everyday hangout spot that happens to sell a world-class cup of coffee. The 40-seat room at 368 Grant St., near Potomac Avenue, aims to open before New Year’s. They’ll be serving coffee at “Peace, Love and Grant Street,” the Dec. 4 holiday shopping event, at any rate.

“That will be our flagship location, with roastery, espresso shop and slow bar coffee shop,” said owner Sam Scarcello, who is partners in the venture with Matt and James Rayburg.

If you don’t recognize the term “slow bar,” you must not be a coffee nerd. Slow bars are places where your drip coffee is prepared while you watch. It can take five minutes, hence the term “slow.” Slow bars tend to draw people who think properly administered drip coffee is the best coffee, people who can talk about beans and terroir like wine lovers talk grapes and vineyards.

The shop will sell faster coffee as well. It will also sell coffee beans, roasted in small batches from the best beans Scarcello and his partners can find. Its labels contain a wealth of information on its contents – not just what country it’s from, but the farm, processing method, and whether it is “Fair Trade,” generally meaning the farmers got paid a premium.

There will be some sort of food available, probably including BreadHive’s baked goods, but that’s not settled yet, said Scarcello. There will not be the usual pump bottles of flavored syrups.

public espresso

The company started selling coffee in November 2013, at the winter market in the Horsefeathers building on Connecticut Street. It still does, Scarcello said.

Why did Public Espresso choose Grant Street?

“We knew it was an up-and-coming neighborhood,” Scarcello said. “The building meets all our needs, for a roaster and retail site. And while working Taste of Diversity festival this summer, the response from that community, and the wide array of people in that neighborhood, really sold us on wanting to be a part of that.”

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