When was the last time you went to a coffee shop and felt like the star? While craft coffee has focused on improving the product, the customer experience has largely been overlooked. Nashville’s Steadfast Coffee is trying to change that. When we first visited Steadfast Coffee they were a small pop-up shop with big ambitions. A year later and they’ve opened a roastery, a café with a full kitchen, and a cocktail bar is on the way. The common thread throughout? Hospitality.
When you walk into Steadfast Coffee the first thing you encounter is not a cash register but a person. The business exchange is deferred to the end of the line, where your coffee is waiting for you. In the mean time, you’re not likely to notice the Modbar espresso machine and you won’t see any pour-overs. Taking a cue from Los Angeles’s G & B Coffee, Steadfast Coffee only offers filter coffee on batch brew. The added efficiency frees up baristas to focus on looking after customers. Co-owner Jamie Cunningham explains, “Human are good at empathy, machines are good at making a repeatable product.”
When I visited, Steadfast was brewing Waykan, Guatemala. This sweet coffee had some pleasant lemon notes and the smart presentation was every bit as attractive as any pour-over I’ve ever had. It was a solid cup of drip that I would be happy to drink any day.
The real stars at Steadfast, however, are the signature drinks. The “matchless coffee soda” is made with a proprietary flash-chilling technique and lives up to its name. The butterscotch latte features a house-made syrup and is offered hot or “rested.” Instead of being diluted with iced, this premade beverage is placed in the fridge until chilled, a process Steadfast claims adds complexity and richness.
The innovative approach of Steadfast’s signature drinks extends to their food menu, curated by Chef Julia Sullivan. Whether its the savory porridge (add a poached egg- trust us) or the egg sandwich, the breakfast at Steadfast is not just good coffee shop food: it’s as good as we’ve had anywhere. Along with cafés like Houston’s Blacksmith and Louisville’s Gralehaus, there’s never been a better time to find food in an American coffee shop.
We expect we’ve yet to see the best Steadfast can do, but the new company is already executing on an exceptional level. Along with Crema, Barista Parlor, Dose, and Revelator, Steadfast is making Nashville one of the country’s premier coffee destinations.
Coffee soda image courtesy of Steadfast Coffee.