What's Behind a Coffee Shop?

We were very happy recently to be selected as the architects for a new coffee shop that went into Silver Spring this summer called Mankira Coffee.

Many people would think that a coffee shop is a fairly straightforward endeavor. Simple enough process, grind quality beans, use good equipment, and hire great people and you’re on your way. But you need one very important thing before you can sell your first cup of coffee, a building permit.

The basic building permit is pretty straightforward, typical occupant load, number of restrooms, egress path of travel. Basic life safety issues.

The Health Department can be a little but more nuanced in deciding number and location of sinks, etc.

Our local Water Utility became the most difficult to deal with. WSSC (Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission)

Grease Traps or Interceptors were the big issue. The science of sizing grease traps can be a bit confusing. Though it seems as if it should be scientific. First you need to figure out if your foods will produce FOG (Fats, Oils, and Grease) You will also need to decide if you are using a Volume Based or a Flow Based Interceptor. WSSC 1003.1 gives some direction in this regard for people working in Montgomery County MD.

After dealing with the DPS (Department of Permitting Services, The Health Department, and WSSC, we could finally get down to some architecture.

The fun part of this building type is working a fairly complex operation into a tight space, with a fully visible food prep area and a customer flow that needs to be directed without being constraining. On top of that we needed to incorporate some cool graphics that not only create their brand, but make the space a pleasant place to have a cup of coffee.