Ritual Coffee Roasters is proud to announce the opening of its concept coffee bar, The Cup & Star, adjacent to the existing Ritual Coffee location inside Oxbow Public Market. The space was designed by architect Lizzie Wallack, of Envelope A + D, and beautifully built out by contractor Gary Taylor. The café is proud to feature a custom Synesso Hydra MVP espresso machine, a pair of Marco SP9 Pourover machines, a beautiful hardwood bar, a dedicated seating era meant to evoke a classic European bar/cafe amidst a bustling market environment, and stunning custom tile work and lighting.
The menu features a curated and often exclusive menu of pour-over coffees utilizing
multiple brew methods, tasting flights, select espresso drinks, and signature beverages. It is unlike any other Ritual location, and unlike most other coffee shops in general, for a few key reasons:
- Prioritizing experience and connection over speed. As more specialty coffee shops open and compete with each other, the goal is to remain ahead of the curve by experimenting with service style and by showcasing Ritual’s uber-talented baristas. Robots are making coffee now, and ready-to-drink specialty coffee is available at your local grocer. But people don’t go out of their way to visit Ritual just for the coffee. It’s also the incredible staff and the wealth of information they can offer.
- Encouraging customers to choose the experience they’re in the mood for: leisurely and interactive, or the quickest great coffee possible. Depending on the day, anyone has the capacity to be either kind of customer. The goal is to make way for authentic customer interaction without sacrificing quality. Ritual feels confident in the ability to consistently deliver amazing coffee for every customer. But with the addition of new technology available in brew methods (an American made Synesso Hydra MVP espresso machine with volumetric settings, and a pair of Marco SP9 automated pour-over brewers), Ritual is taking the next step in its mad-scientist pursuit of the perfect cup of coffee, and customers get to be closer to the action than ever before.
Eileen Rinaldi, the founder of Ritual, explains: “Every time I visit our shop in Napa and meet a customer who finds out I’m the owner, I hear the same thing: “Your staff are AMAZING!” But, in the hustle and bustle of the market, it’s also a constant struggle to accommodate the customer who wants to sit and talk with us about our new Sweet Tooth Espresso offering, as we simultaneously pump out drinks for caffeine-deprived vacationers who just want to get their coffee and hit the road. The Cup & Star is a unique way to help facilitate conversations about our coffees and the stories behind them, while decreasing pressure and increasing efficiency at our main bar.”
The 279-square-foot existing location had been doing almost as much volume as the company’s flagship cafe on Valencia Street, so last spring, whenthe space next to Ritual’s kiosk became available, the company jumped at the chance to expand a bit, knowing they wanted to add a second espresso machine and serve more specialty drinks, with the vision to create a kind of “tasting room” experience, now the standard in the wine industry, but for specialty coffee.
Rather than just making the existing coffee bar bigger to accommodate this, Ritual created an entirely new bar and business model. There’s no booze, but it looks and feels like a bar, and instead of waiting in line you can “belly up” and talk to the barista. The lighting is cozy. The music sounds good. And of course, you’re warmly welcomed by a seasoned barista.
It’s so different from the rest of Ritual Napa that the company gave the space its own
name and identity: The Cup & Star (a cheeky reference to the welcoming British pub vibe that’s being channeled.) Everything is served in beautiful ceramic wares, and there’s no “order here” or “pick-up” area. Like a craft cocktail bar, the featured items are on the menu, but the old standards are also available.
Eileen beams when she says, “The last 9 years up in Napa have been incredibly rewarding. We get to hear lots of visitors tell us that the coffee we made them is the best they’ve ever had, “except for in Italy,” but we also have winemakers and sommeliers and chefs from the French Laundry and bussers and servers who really appreciate our coffee, our commitment to quality, and the incredible posse of weird, cool, diverse co-workers that we’ve managed to collect in spite of Napa being a pretty small town.”
This expansion builds on the fifth brick-and-mortar location for Ritual Coffee, a coffee roasting company that strives for transparency and precision at every level of its business. Ritual boasts nearly 100% direct trade coffees, and roasts everything on a vintage German roaster at its headquarters in the SoMa district of San Francisco.