There’s a certain decor that is typical of coffee shops in the Pacific Northwest. Usually, the lights are dim, the walls are dark, and the floors are creaky or bare, lending the shop a warm but subdued ambiance. Because this is such a common theme for local coffee shops, the recently opened Primer Coffee’s bright atmosphere and pristine white counter tops make it a standout.

One would think that the forward design of Primer would provide some amount of logistical difficulties. Beneath the blazing lights, every imperfection, every splat from an unruly steamer or coffee press, would be laid bare under the unforgiving lights. But that would imply that they even made mistakes. Yet with each espresso made, with each batch of hand-shaken whipped cream, the staff performs with a certain amount of fluidity and grace. Their performance is just as visually stunning as the shop itself.

Primer Coffee shares a building with the well-known Elizabeth Station. Patrons drift to and fro as they see fit, popping heads into beer market while their beverages are prepped and vice-versa. It’s behavior encouraged by those at Primer, pointing out doors to patrons. Most of the people that come in are curious souls, checking out the newest coffee place in town. Others come for the specialty beverages, having heard about them through the grapevine. The Shuksan Arm is one of those, a “bubbly” beverages that starts sweet and gives way to a delicious sort of bitterness. It’s topped with that artfully prepared and hand-shaken Twinbrooks whipped cream, and garnished with orange zest. Other specialty beverages include the sparkling cascara and the blueberry shrub, among many more.

Though recently opened, one of the minds behind the masterpiece, Patrick McEvoy and the rest of his team were already hard at work on the next arm of the Primer project, implementing a food menu. While the menu already includes a yogurt and granola bowl, the team hopes to bring in other foods, like breads and spreads, to the table.

So next time you’re looking for a good cuppa, pull up a minimalist chair at Primer and enjoy the light.

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"Yet with each espresso made, with each batch of hand-shaken whipped cream, the staff performs with a certain amount of fluidity and grace. Their performance is just as visually stunning as the shop itself."