Sometimes students need a refuge outside the confines of a classroom to concentrate and study. Sometimes a committee needs an open and inviting space to meet and make difficult decisions. Sometimes sports fans want to watch a game with other enthusiasts, but not particularly in a bar. Sometimes friends want to convene and converse away from home. The Station Coffee Bar & Bistro provides a place for people to come together for these reasons and more.
Inside this former antique mall, a wide, airy space is now outfitted with comfortable chairs and couches, wide tables, a gas fireplace, large flat screen television, and wine bar. “We have a wine and beer license, but we’re not a tavern,” said DeVaul. A patron can enjoy a glass of wine with lunch or a beer after work while sampling a variety of tapas, but the primary enticement is a good cup of coffee.
“Batdorf & Bronson is our coffee provider. I tried several other coffees and roasters and I liked Batdorf & Bronson the best,” DeVaul said. “They have their core types of coffees. We use The Whirling Dervish. It’s a free-trade, organic, grown in the shade coffee.”
Nellie Logan is one of the skilled baristas working at The Station. “We serve The Whirling Dervish all the time,” said Logan. The Station carries a daily drip coffee in addition to the monthly specialty drip. If consumers want to know the origins of the coffee they’re drinking, they can read about it from a binder stored behind the front counter.
“I follow a couple baristas on social media and watch coffee art competition,” said DeVaul, a self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur. “People think coffee is coffee, but it isn’t. There is a real art and technique to it,” she said, praising the efforts of her staff. “It takes a real talent to do it. I have such respect for our baristas and manager, Nikki Wilson, who keeps The Station organized and running smoothly.”
Her baristas receive training in the art of coffee-making and presentation at Batdorf & Bronson’s headquarters in Olympia. “Our baristas can attend classes on brewing, tasting, and coffee art,” said DeVaul.
Occasionally, the training comes closer to home. In January, Batdorf & Bronson brought a class to The Station where they demonstrated making coffee using a Chemex.
“The Chemex is another way to brew coffee at home,” explained barista, Kayli Young. “It’s shaped like an hourglass and uses a filter.” Customers can purchase a Chemex at The Station and any of the baristas will readily demonstrate how to use it.
Patrons who do not drink coffee will not be left thirsty. The Station also serves Italian sodas and carries a selection of Mighty Leaf teas. The shop offers a variety of small dishes, sandwiches, wraps, salads and baked treats. “We buy as much locally as we can and support the local stores,” DeVaul said.
DeVaul aims to keep the quality high, prepare delicious food, and serve great coffee. If there are any secrets to the success of The Station, she attributes it to attracting good people, keeping consistent hours, and paying attention to quality. “We don’t have much of a kitchen,” she confessed. “We have a panini press, a toaster and a microwave. We do a lot with those three appliances.”
In addition to food and drink, once a month, singer songwriter Bruce Maier produces a songwriter’s showcase. The Station also sponsors a monthly Paint and Sip where a resident artist teaches a painting class right in the front of the bistro. The upstairs is available as a meeting space for private groups and people passing through can stay abreast of community events through an advertising board downstairs.
The DeVaul’s didn’t set out to own a coffee house. “It’s been kind of a whirlwind,” said Judy. “It wasn’t our intention. We weren’t looking for a coffee shop. It found us.”
In addition to owning The Station Coffee Bar & Bistro, Judy DeVaul and her husband, Frank, own Debbie’s Boutique, re:Design, The Advocate Agency, Gracie’s, re:Design Home Staging, and DeVaul Publishing, Inc. They’ve also organized the annual Chehalis Garlic Festival for the past nine years.
The Station Coffee Bar & Bistro
120 S. Tower Ave in Centralia