What does the La Marzocco roaster residency mean to us? What does it mean to be in the business of coffee? What are coffee houses for?

Want to know exactly what the residency is?  

Read La Marzocco's release here. For residency events go here.


What does the La Marzocco Roaster Residency mean to us?

"The La Marzocco roaster residency provides an opportunity for us to assess and share with the Seattle public, our selves and the greater world of coffee an essential view and experience of what we’ve been asserting since beginning in 2010 and the values and actions behind our business. We are making a professional argument about what is at the root of sourcing, treating, tasting, and sharing coffee itself and what the experience of the institution of the coffee house mean to us."  


Our business is a two-part system. Cocoa Cinnamon is comprised of three retail locations that explore the roots and wonder in coffee, chocolate, and tea. Little Waves Coffee Roasters is an impact-driven group of thinkers, dreamers, and doers who delight in the enduring power of coffee as a shared experience. By making small, determined reverberations through sourcing, roasting, and brewing, we add our open-hearted energy to the tides that unconceal and uphold the beauty of coffee and life. 

    For us, Coffee houses are more than simply spare, white Instagram photo ops or other fleeting trends. They offer an opportunity to express and embody more than a third place. We believe this has been true in some form since at least the 1500’s in the first coffee houses in Aleppo, Damascus and Cairo. For us the coffee house, expressed in its truest sense, is a conduit and catalyst to employ equal parts craft, service and atmosphere through which we explore and incite the taste buds, the mind and connectivity into and with the world beyond. Coffee houses present an opportunity to build a business, spaces and connections that offer us a daily excuse to turn what for many is a quotidian habit into an awakening ritual, in which the experience of flavor, warmth and potential for instigating health in society are equally embedded.

    Our coffee shops, as we have collaborated with our designer David Solow, teams, artists and craftspeople to construct them, are integrated experiences of flavor and service and “living installations,” artistic excuses for wonder. Consider, the feeling of taking in a foreign country as a traveler in the spirit of Ibn Batutta, not a tourist whose body leaves home but not their worldview. This kind of travel is a chance to have fresh eyes, to feel completely enlivened and be open to, derive great pleasure from and be changed by the diversity of people, languages, customs, landscapes, in awe of our very existence. Our experience is the same with coffee and our coffee houses. Coffee itself invites an art in which there is a never-ending desire to touch, shape, eternally seek and release the beauty of flavor while honoring the work and lives that have cumulatively brought it to us.  


    Coffee houses may simply be about comfort, ease, savoring flavor, sitting alone or with friends or family. That pleasure can be simple and profound. They may also be open fields of being, where thinking is the norm, writings can be developed and one may be prompted to inhabit a life beyond absolutes. Coffee in itself is a drink of wonder. With coffee in hand, coffee houses elicit dreams to create, flavors to taste, ideas to develop, layer and test, in spaces for people to grow, accept, share.

    Coffee is a business that presents true post-perfectionist opportunities to connect honest ongoing efforts to strive towards the actualization of values of health and human flourishing. The realm of challenge is to link the hands that plant the seeds, pick the cherries, to the hands that weigh, lift and roast the coffee, the hands that dial and draw out the most beautifully extracted essences via extraction through to the ones sitting sipping with a small shudder from the pleasure and flavor in the cup. This simple seed that has been magically grown up and released through the subtle handling of roasting, testing and extracting inspires us to imagine all of that and work for it every day.

    We are interested in the roots and stories of coffee. We present coffees themselves as an ongoing tasting experience including single origins and carefully crafted blends where balance and complexity of complimentary coffees may be woven. With the single origins, terroir, variety, processing and delicate roast approach present clues to the magic in each particular bean that we in the coffee industry fall in love with and share each day. We also draw inspiration from the roots of the original spread of coffee as it came to be in Ethiopia and spread via Muslim pilgrims, overlapping in the first coffee houses with Western end of ancient spice roots. In our company training we refer to the Entbergen principle, simply described as letting something be or unconceal as it is in its truest essence. This applies to dialing in, in the net positive effect we hope our shops and service will have on our community, to developing roast profiles, how we work to recruit and attract a team that represents our city, in the prices we pay for our green coffee and how we balance ongoing improvements in our actual impact by committing to some farmers year after year. 

    While the word sustainability can feel played out, we embrace it as a word to bring alive, one that is to be systematically sought after in the work we do each day and the systems we develop as our business grows, tying our success to our continuous effort to give the word meaning through action.

    Altogether, the experience of the coffees themselves, the effect of our rotating coffee and wonder menus and the design of the culmination of design of each unique location and the layers of actions of the business can’t be seen by standing in one place. As with any perspective, a truly pleasurable, sensed and researched “understanding” of purchasing, designs, feel, menu, drink execution takes repeat and multiple perspectives to build in the mind what we make of it. 

    In general with the pervasiveness of coffee shops through our society, in the everyday many consumers walk into coffee shops with assumptions about hipness, expense, barista cliches and setups. Our business is designed to ask people to go beyond that, to come and return again and again with every desire from a simple pleasure to a layered experience of wonder. In our training, we say to our team that our most essential goal is to make people feel happy and enchanted. When we are at our best, we use our craft, service and atmosphere to incite the feeling of a wondrous openness to the world. Not a theoretical wonder, but one that starts simply and is unexpected.

    This perspective is meant to work in direct opposition to absolutism, extremism and mistruth. From this sentient and artistic baseline, finding pleasure in difference, being curious and empathetic about people, desiring and working towards opportunity and health for all becomes (albeit imperfectly) indicated again and again as the norm. This beautiful, simple and complex drink, coffee, is the foundation and we fall in love with it anew every day. 

    Our desire is to allow coffee to be the catalyst that keeps us open. And in turn the coffee reveals itself in the cup as a personal magical tasting experience that we can share with others. Our desire is to share our Little Waves with you, the community of Seattle, our guests and clients in Durham and beyond and to add something humble and helpful to the profession of coffee. 

    Cocoa Cinnamon, our shops, are driven by the experience that is amazed by the marvel of cities and the roots of languages, whose blood rushes in the awe of landscapes, the wonder of travel and the history, colors, textures, and stories of coffee, chocolate, and tea. We make drinks after these histories and after the characters that inspire us, those who remind us of the beauty and possibility of humanity. 

    Little Waves Coffee Roasters is an impact-driven group of thinkers, dreamers, and doers who delight in the enduring power of coffee as a shared experience. By making small, determined reverberations through sourcing, roasting, and brewing, we add our open-hearted energy to the tides that unconceal and uphold the beauty of coffee and life.

    We hope the experience at La Marzocco will help us be better in these efforts.


    The following cites some of what we have accomplished and hope can be helpful to others.


    • Little Waves Coffee Roasters is an impact-driven group of thinkers, dreamers, and doers who delight in the enduring power of coffee as a shared experience. By making small, determined reverberations through sourcing, roasting, and brewing, we add our open-hearted energy to the tides that unconceal and uphold the beauty of coffee and life.

    Coffee Purchases:

    • Coffee Purchases - We consistently purchase coffees dollars above fair trade minimum requirements and are in the process of naming a minimum purchase price that we can commit to. In our most recent round of coffees we spent an average of 323% over fair trade.

    Environmental (selection):

    • Diverted approximately 52,172 lbs of compost in the last year
    • Our coffee roaster uses 20% the energy of a traditional roaster


    • Business is a challenge. Striving honestly for sustainability is a project that takes little waves every day, every connection, every decision. We believe that commerce, as it is, is the root of so many of the world’s ills. Since the beginning, we have asked ourselves, can we, knowing that our business would be an ongoing pattern of buying and selling, sourcing and serving, use that pattern to continually express the world we hope to see more honestly, more effectively, more realistically.


    • Recruiting to represent our city and mission (approximate numbers)
      • 84 percent of our team are comprised of women and non-binary folks
      • 72 percent are people of color
      • 65 percent are bi or trilingual
      • We are a team of a wide variety of beliefs, practices and backgrounds
      • All team members live and spend in our local community
    • Co-owned by a bilingual-woman of color
    • We have a $15 minimum wage. For bar shifts this means a base rate plus tips with a $15 per hour guarantee, all off bar shifts and roles are paid at a $15 minimum wage -- after an initial probationary period. 
    • We continue to strive to connect our business success with the success and benefit of our whole team and our producer, sourcing and local communities


    • Regularly contribute to programs that help create opportunity and health within our neighborhoods and across our city -- Internal assessment completed each year. Has averaged 6 percent of profits going to these contributions year after year. Includes supporting some team members outside of work efforts where they align with the company mission and contribution plan.
    • There is a part that is immeasurable, but when we spend time developing as a team/s or see people plan runs for office or have meetings to setup to run for public office in our spaces and such activities, write books that change lives or offer someone who might feel out of place a place to be themselves, there is love that helps us know we continue to be on the way to fulfilling our mission.