Fleet Coffee Co. is now open on Austin’s east side, helmed by two of the city’s award-winning coffee talents. Lorenzo Perkins and Patrick Pierce, who met working at Caffé Medici, co-founded Fleet to bring back the best parts of coffee culture and focus on the art of what coffee originally was meant to be.
“Every element of the shop was designed to enable guests to interact and perceive coffee in a new way,” said Perkins, who also previously worked as Director of Education at Cuvee Coffee. “When guests walk in the Fleet door, every interaction, from the first glance at the menu, to the drink itself, to finally what the guests does in the space with their beverage, has a very precise intention.”
The design of the space evokes the vibe of an Italian 1950s train station café, which Perkins and Pierce created to symbolize the metaphorical journey for the history of espresso café culture. “ We want to use the space to pay respect to the past while looking toward the future of café culture,” said Pierce.
The cozy, 10-seat space encourages conversations and personal connection starting right at the ordering counter. Brockett Hamilton of Creature Design designed the intimate yet functional space with reclaimed wood throughout. The front bar accommodates 5 seats and has just enough room to fit a cup of coffee and a pastry from Texas French Bread or a breakfast taco from Tyson’s Tacos. Banquette seating lines the opposite wall of Fleet’s V-shaped space and guests can also grab a seat at one of the tables just outside the shop’s front door.
Fleet’s menu highlights a seasonal rotation of roasters, with Madcap Coffee Company from Grand Rapids, Mich., as Fleet’s anchor roaster. Other roasters will be brought in for three-month increments, with Austin roaster, Wild Gift, and Olympia Coffee Roasting from Washington currently being served.
“We are sourcing roasters that have a strong roasting aesthetic as well as sustainable and ethical sourcing practices,” said Perkins. “Our goal is to build strong relationships with our roasters, just as they do with the coffee farmers.”
In addition to traditional coffee drinks like espresso, lattes and iced coffee, Fleet also offers drip coffee made with the Kalita Wave (for one) or the Chemex (for two). Espresso drinks, made on a classic La Marzocco Linea machine, are only served in traditional Italian espresso bar sizes, with close attention paid to the espresso to milk ratio, ensuring that the drink is served at its optimal quality. The Fleet team is always experimenting with new brewing methods and flavors. This is showcased on the “Coffee And…” menu which currently features The Morning Ritual (doughnut-infused milk, espresso, doughnut hole) and the Flip-Top (root beer spices, chicory root, espresso, nitro), among other offerings.
Fleet aims to be a destination for home coffee enthusiasts, with a curated selection of bags of coffee for sale in the shop as well as a subscription coffee service available to locals to launch later this year.