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Fire and Roast

Side Dishes: Black Cap Coffee Roasters Opens in Stowe


A new coffeehouse with an unusual concept opened in Stowe last month. Chris and Heidi Townsend, formerly of Stowe Coffeehouse, roast their own single-origin beans, but that’s not the only way they’re packing heat. Black Cap Coffee Roasters is also home to a pottery studio and, in conjunction with the Helen Day Art Center, to an adjacent space called Townsend Gallery.

There’s food, too. Each day the Townsends serve up a light, eclectic sandwich selection from early morning until 6 p.m. Asparagus-and-prosciutto panino with Gruyère on Red Hen ciabatta is one offering. Practically everything is baked in-house, including muffins, scones, cookies and creative quiches, such as the turkey-and- avocado one on offer last week. An outside specialist bakes gluten-free items, including pumpkin muffins.

In the near future, Chris Townsend would like to serve all that on his own line of pottery. Black Cap already sells chickadee-emblazoned logo T-shirts silk-screened by the owners. They hope that, as the new café gets into its groove, Chris will have time to fire enough plates, saucers and cups not only to provide for the business but to offer for sale.

The studio is something of a side business; Chris is currently teaching kids’ classes during the day and plans to have night courses for adults come fall. Other potters can rent the space.

By September, Black Cap should get a little busier on weekend nights — that’s when the Townsends plan to start serving beer and wine along with cakes and other heavier pastries.

As a potter-cum-coffee-purveyor, Chris Townsend has a lot of balls to keep in the air, he acknowledges: “Now it’s just a matter of working hard and getting it all going in the right direction.”