Artist Jonathan Michael Rypkema contributed the art to the entry for Open Roast Cafe
You may have seen Spencer Lattimer behind counters inside Charleston coffee shops over the past few years. But not as a barista, as one of the area's only espresso machine technicians.
This week in Hanahan, Lattimer unlocked the doors at Open Roast Cafe, his first personal venture into counter-service coffee. The coffee counter and workshop, located at 5805 Campbell St., serves as the home base for Lattimer's espresso technician business as well as ground zero for his own experimentation.
To be clear, this is not your leisurely all-day cafe setup. Inside you'll find a counter, a newly rebuilt La Marzocco machine, a few chairs, plus select beans and coffee gear for sale. That's it. For now, the shop is only open weekday mornings.
But if you want a taste of good coffee from someone who knows how to make good coffee, pay a visit to Open Roast.
Lattimer would know — he helps a bunch of local coffee shops make sure their coffee rigs are dialed in and running smoothly.
Starting from an engineering background, Lattimer gained experience in the coffee roasting world with Intelligentsia in San Francisco. After some time in L.A. where he learned to dissect temperamental, technical, and heavily used espresso machines, he headed to Charleston to work with a local roaster three years ago when he saw a need for technical expertise, starting Open Roast Technical.
With his engineering background and discerning coffee palate, Lattimer has even installed
an elaborate water remineralization setup at the Hanahan storefront — a first for coffee shops in the area, he says. Good water also keeps his high-end coffee nerd-caliber equipment running smoothly, since Lattimer says 90 percent of issues he comes across in his maintenance work have to do with water quality. The cafe uses beans from Wisconsin-based Ruby Coffee Roasters.
Lattimer is keeping up his technical business, but depending on how swift business is at the retail counter, it may expand back into the space he's now using as a workshop.
For now, stop by Open Roast Cafe in the morning, Mon.-Fri., 7 a.m.-noon.