Project Dote: Bringing Good Coffee and Community Support to the Heart of Bellevue
It’s hard to imagine going through the day without that extra kick of caffeine. Whether it’s a morning up lift, an afternoon treat or a wind down after a long day at work, our favorite coffee shops play a huge role in our daily lives. One of Bellevue’s more unique spots is Dote Coffee Bar, where coffee meets chocolate (and other delicious combinations) for an elevated experience, with community spirit at heart.
Before launching Dote, owner Sarah Doud has been in-and-out of the coffee business her whole career. Her first experience in the coffee field came from her time in London as one of the founding members of Seattle Coffee Company, bringing specialty coffee to the U.K. with the launch. Almost 50 stores and 4 years later, the business was sold to Starbucks.
“It was a thrilling ride at a time when the industry was growing fast,” Doud said. “And a taste for good coffee seemed to be sweeping the globe.”
Doud was on the hunt to seek potential partners, collaborators and makers to help her create exceptional coffee and serve only the best quality for her next venture. She was soon introduced to Chef Ewald Notter, master chocolatier and pastry chef. The two brilliant minds worked together to pair coffee and chocolate in drinks, treats and other menu items. Eventually, Dote was born.
“We decided together we could create a concept that was unique,” Doud said. “A mashup of Ewald’s background in chocolate and my background in coffee.”
Unfortunately, like many other businesses, Dote was temporarily closed for five months due to the pandemic. During this time, the team found ways to stay in touch with customers. They began serving them in a completely touchless transaction using the Dote Coffee Bar app and launched their Saturday home delivery service, available to zip codes 98039 and 98004. Home delivery options include batch coffee and tea and scratch bakery items like sticky cinnamon buns, quiches, tarts, cookies and pastries.
Although their doors are opened for business again, the team is prepared to work much harder to reach out to customers and let them know they are open and ready to serve in multiple ways.
“One of the parts I love most about the coffee business is the role it plays in connecting people in a daily way,” Doud said.
Doud put that into action with the launch of a do-good program, Project Dote. In April during the state mandated shut down, they began delivering coffee and pastries to essential workers. They wanted to use their resources to support those in the community who were making sacrifices everyday while raising money to enable them to bring back some of their team.
“We made deliveries to care teams at Overlake Hospital twice a week for over a month in order to reach as many people as possible.” Doud said.
They also delivered to Virgina Mason, Swedish, postal workers in Bellevue and Redmond, grocery workers, police officers and first responders. Project Dote was able to successfully raise $6,000 in donations. The project was a way to reach out to the community and stay connected as the world was in chaos. With the success of the Project Dote, Doud decided to continue giving back to the community and the Dote team by making this a permanent part of what they do.
“Maintaining Project Dote is one way we might emerge from this time better than we were before, with clearer priorities.” Doud said.
Good coffee and a good cause? That’s a perfect combination. If you haven’t checked out Dote Coffee Bar, head over to their Lincoln South post and experience it for yourself. We recommend you to try their Honey Dark Mocha or their Tumeric Ginger Latte - we promise, you won’t be disappointed.
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.