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News / Life / Clark County Life

Food & Drink: Relevant Coffee moves into new cafe

By Rachel Pinsky
Published: May 17, 2019, 6:02am
3 Photos
Relevant Coffee’s new space in Uptown Village is light and airy, and was inspired by a similar space in Germany.
Relevant Coffee’s new space in Uptown Village is light and airy, and was inspired by a similar space in Germany. Photos by Rachel Pinsky for The Columbian Photo Gallery

I was intrigued when Brian Clemens, coffee evangelist (i.e., operations director) at Relevant Coffee, emailed me to tell me his coffee shop was moving to a new space at 17th and Main streets in Uptown Village. I quickly accepted his invitation to meet with him and owner/roaster Mitch Montgomery for a sneak peek at the new space.

I knew I was in the right place because window glass had been installed, allowing natural light to flood into this former office space. The old awnings were gone. Brown paper covered the windows and the room wasn’t finished, but it was clear that Relevant’s new spot was going to be a chic, low-key gathering place to sip carefully roasted coffee.

It’s always fun to meet up with Clemens and Montgomery because their enthusiasm for coffee approaches the giddiness level of two kids adding the last of 7,500 Lego blocks to the Millennium Falcon. Montgomery’s wife, Kelly, joined us. The Montgomerys spent months poring over images of coffee shops around the world to come up with the right look for this coffee shop. They wanted to create a comfortable and inviting space where patrons could watch coffee being roasted. Photos of a roastery and cafe in Germany inspired their design.

A coffee roaster will be added so all of Relevant’s coffee can be roasted on site and patrons can watch the entire process. Montgomery wants to share with the public the profound experience he recently had visiting a coffee bean supplier in Guatemala. He plans on teaching bean-to-cup coffee classes and brewing classes so people can optimize brewing Relevant’s beans at home.

Two weeks later, I visited on opening day. The room was filled with customers and many regulars from the old space were warmly greeted by the baristas.

A gorgeous Douglas fir coffee bar that Mitch and his father built is the centerpiece. Natural light saturates the place through the large windows that run along the space. In homage to the original shop on Broadway, single tables are bolted to the wall near the entrance. For those who like to be out in the open, a long wooden bench wraps along the length of the room. Small and large tables are dispersed through the space and a trio of comfy chairs sit in a corner.

The opening day coffee menu was similar to the original Relevant — espresso drinks, chai, a hot turmeric drink, drip coffee, hot tea, cold brew and nitro tea. Two types of espresso were available (Ethiopia Alaka and Colombia Tello) and a filter coffee (Guatemala Chaquito). On tap was a nitro cold brew from Central America, a single origin cold brew from Ethiopia and a cascara nitro tea. There were squares of Ranger Chocolate, pastries from Baron Patisserie, and vegan and gluten-free treats from Shoofly Bakery.

I tried the two types of espresso. The barista brought them out with a small glass of sparkling water for each demitasse of espresso. I enjoyed sipping the contrasting flavors from the two espresso shots — the Colombian bright and tropical and the Ethiopian full of dried fruit and chocolate. After I left, I walked down the street and I saw a painting of a watershed on the ground with a quote from Mahatma Gandhi — “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” It reminded me how local business owners, such as Mitch Montgomery, create community one shop at a time.

Rachel Pinsky can be reached at couveeats@gmail.com. You can follow her on Instagram and Facebook @couveeats.

If You Go

What: Relevant Coffee.

Where: 1703 Main St., Suite A, Vancouver.

Hours: 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily.

Contact: 971-319-5773 or RelevantCoffee.com

Information: Relevant’s Founders Club is accepting members until the end of May. For more information, go to RelevantCoffee.com/founders-club