SEATTLE — Nestled in the Roosevelt neighborhood on 65th Street in a new apartment building is Santo Coffee Co. With its concrete floors, a wall of stylish merch and greenery, and an indie playlist that reverberates off of the high ceiling, Santo feels almost too hip for the neighborhood. Unless you pay particularly close attention, or you already knew, you could come in for a cappuccino and leave never realizing that Santo is the latest chapter in Fredy Montero’s Seattle legacy.
The space is large and welcoming, with plenty of comfortable seating that ranges from a plush green sectional as you enter to stylish chairs and stools that fill the rest of the open space. A large mirror on one wall helps to reflect light from the floor-to-ceiling windows that make up the entirety of the exterior walls, making Santo surprisingly bright and airy on the gloomiest of Seattle afternoons. Every detail is considered in the execution of Santo’s industrial chic aesthetic where fruit-wood counters and benches mix with concrete, marble metal. Grey and black leather, along with the green velvet sectional provide a contrast to the hard, smooth textures that surround them, and an abundance of live greenery helps add to the airy environment.
Care and attention to detail extend well beyond the appearance and atmosphere at Santo, though. Their coffee all comes from Devoción, a company devoted to sustainability and equity in the world of coffee that sources all of its beans from Montero’s native Colombia. They offer a limited menu of coffee drinks, aiming to showcase the flavor and quality of the coffee itself. You won’t find the sorts of sugary drinks here that you might at Starbucks, but if you want something sweet and smooth their cortado won’t disappoint.
If coffee isn’t your jam, they have an impressive selection of teas from Miro that is sure to have something for everyone. While we’ve all tried, at one time or another, to survive on coffee alone, Santo’s got you covered for when you succumb to your need for food. A small pastry case displays a handful of delightfully flaky options from Sémillon Bakery. The options range from sweet to savory, and include croissants that manage to be both at once.
Santo was started by Montero and his wife, Alexis, and another couple, Jessica and Mikhail Ghyvoronsky. The two couples connected “through the beautiful world of coffee,” according to the company’s website, and together they are working to create a space for people to enjoy coffee and make connections through the experience.
The connection to Montero might not be immediately apparent, but you don’t have to look around for long before you start to find nods to his professional soccer career. The most obvious reference is probably the lone Santo-branded soccer ball that sits atop the wall of merch, but they do get more subtle from there. The brand’s logo appears to be a stylized soccer field, and you can get anything from coffee cups to t-shirts and hats that feature the image. You can also drink from a glass that features a pattern that evokes iconic Telstar soccer balls.
If you love Montero, or just enjoy coffee, and you find yourself in the neighborhood, I would suggest giving Santo a try. It’s a nice spot to relax and enjoy your drink, or to bring your laptop and work away for a little bit — there are plenty of spots to sit, a fair number of power outlets, and pretty solid wifi. I wouldn’t knock you for picking up a hat or a shirt while you’re there, either.
Have you been to Santo already? What did you think?