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Cafe Cesura Celebrates Its 9th Anniversary Brewing Heart & Soul

November 11, 2020 - by Brooke Wilson

Cafe Cesura Celebrates Its 9th Anniversary Brewing Heart & Soul

Labeled coffee enthusiasts, kooks and connoisseurs, Western Washington has built an international reputation and cultural aesthetic around espresso and rainy weather. But those privy to the local coffee scene recognize there are storefronts with a commitment to quality, global representation and sustainable practices that reach beyond the broad brush strokes of a coffee-obsessed facade.

None demonstrates that dedication more than Cafe Cesura, which is celebrating its ninth anniversary on Nov. 11 by donating all proceeds to the Boys & Girls Foundation with an aim to finance local programming, activities and opportunities for youth in its Bellevue chapter.

With the recent fervor to support local businesses, owner Shawn Nickerson has long been practicing what press and media outlets have preached over the course of the pandemic. Nickerson explained how investing his dollar and other resources into locally rooted organizations has become a natural and necessary extension of his decision to launch his business. An attitude of collective success and fellowship promotes a positive cycle that strengthens the downtown core by inspiring partnerships and philanthropic projects that uplift his neighbors, he said, which in turn benefit his customer base and the broader community he serves. 

Like a blank canvas brimming with possibility, Cafe Cesura rotates its artwork display each month to provide a platform and publicity to independent artists and local exhibitions, like Student Art Spaces, an organization dedicated to youth art equity whose entries are currently featured in Cafe Cesura from its latest project, “Surviving Calamity,” aptly named after the influences and inspiration found in the past year. Artisans and merchants also struggled to stay afloat, especially those like florists displaced by farmer’s market cancellations and less established merchants vying for more exposure, and Nickerson offered his storefront to help those in need survive the drought.

For Nickerson, his pursuits are founded in quality relationships over transactions, sourcing premium inventory from farmers and vendors he can rattle off by name and region as he gestures to his phone, noting he personally arranges all the shipments and touches base with his contacts throughout the week. Direct trade systems like the one Nickerson leverages mean the beans are harvested and delivered straight from farm to (coffee) table and not only ensures that all the hands involved on the agricultural side are sufficiently compensated, but creates an awareness around the producers that moderates environmental pressures and fosters a global responsibility, empathy and ethical network that our generation of eco-friendly, conscious consumers can support.

As far as appetizing bites are concerned, its savory, layered breakfast sandwiches on a Macrina potato roll have garnered high praise and a hungry following on the Eastside and across the lake. Pair your breakfast fare with an espresso drink (beans roasted on-site, of course) mixed with a rave worthy almond milk crafted in-house with only three ingredients: almonds, dates and water. Simplicity scores, and that same principle can be found in the spacious, minimalist interior design that soothes your senses like a breath of fresh air and invites a grounded serenity with each sip of coffee.

While foot traffic has slowed, Nickerson said he shifted gears to implement an accessible ordering system into his website and amped up his social media presence to broaden his customer engagement and reach more eyes and ears. Cashless payment options have also been a crucial measure to accommodate socially distant patrons and adapt to mandated sanitary and safety protocols. On a brighter note, Nickerson said whole bean coffee sales have been on the rise since more folks have adopted a work-from-home routine and begun grinding beans themselves. 

Given the recent financial hardships experienced by smaller entrepreneurs, Nickerson has tried to mitigate his by organizing a gofundme campaign to cover a few outstanding expenditures like rent & utilities, equipment maintenance, and also update the space layout to allow for expanded social distancing efforts and offset fixed costs on the menu.

Satisfy your next coffee craving with a deal your wallet will appreciate by entering the promotion code “Coffeefriend” to redeem 20% off your purchase. Now, that sounds like a reason to celebrate - with your favorite caffeinated beverage!

This blog is part of the Heart of Bellevue: our campaign to showcase local businesses while connecting you with stories of activity, creativity and recovery. Find out about our campaign and explore more of what’s happening around Downtown.