Jason Mackwood, owner of 1665 Café, is counting on a microroasted, artisanal brand of coffee with a cult following to lure customers down to his shop on the south end of Laurel.
“Being on this side, we needed a draw,” said Mackwood, who began offering Blue Bottle Coffee about a month ago.
So far, the strategy is paying off. Mackwood reports a 30-40 percent increase in customers since introducing Blue Bottle, part of the slow-drip brewing movement that uses shade-grown, organic beans that are roasted in vintage gear from Germany and then sealed in compostable bags.
Commercial realtor Michelle Fraedrich, who does business in San Carlos, was thrilled to discover a local café that served the boutique coffee. “I used to drive all the way to the Ferry Building in San Francisco for it,” she said.
Blue Bottle is bi-coastal. It has two roasting facilities, the original in Oakland, the other in Brooklyn New York opened last year.
A big part of what makes Blue Bottle (named after Central Europe’s first coffee house) unique is its dedication to serving and distributing freshly roasted coffee. “It’s never more than a week old,” said Mackwood.
At 1665 Café, customers have their choice of three different roasts: light, medium and espresso, plus decaf. A server (if not Mackwood himself) trained at Blue Bottle, grinds the beans and pours hot water from a swan neck kettle over the grounds. The brew – nestled in a ceramic basket with a paper filter – is allowed to drip ever-so-slowly into the cup.
Mackwood, who also owns popular Mack’s BBQ in San Carlos, has two big big challenges. The first is location. The tap end of Laurel doesn’t have the foot traffic the northern side enjoys. Second, it’s tough competing against mega-chain Starbucks with two stores on upper Laurel. Then there’s Peet’s due to open mid-summer in the old Blockbuster space.
Still, Mackwood’s confident there’s a place for a small, indie café with a unique offering. “We’ll still have better coffee,” he said with a smile.
1665 Cafe (formerly called Wood’s Cafe)
1665 Laurel Street, San Carlos 94070
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