Arts and Entertainment

Silverdale coffee shop encourages customers to 'act locally, drink globally'

On a Wednesday night, at The Global Bean coffeeshop in Silverdale, the sound of the espresso machine blends just like another instrument in the jam session.

It’s a full house. The tall, lanky, laid-back shop owner Joel Skellie is pulling chairs out of the corner, trying to accommodate a small overflow.

Clanking coffee cup percussion adds even more random rhythm to tunes and reels coming from a small circle of celtic players sat in the far corner. The buzz of coffee drinkers’ conversation steadily underlies the fiddles and mandolin, but the close of each tune is met with a room full of applause.

It’s pure caffeinated entertainment.

And it’s exactly what The Global Bean is about.

Of course, the place has great coffee —  the beans are imported from unique locations on three different continents, unblended and un-warehoused, organic and fair trade. It also imports internationally award-winning wines and beers.

“We have great tea, too. I could go on about it for hours,” Skellie said. “But that’s just a vehicle. The idea was to create an entire atmosphere that was global ... make ‘act locally, drink globally’ more than just a saying.”

That slogan — “Act locally ... Drink globally” — catches my eye from across the room while waiting for a mid-day interview with Skellie and co-owner Lance Gilbert. It’s displayed above the entrance/exit of the shop.

A Clash song is on the radio and local photographer Mark Van Huis’ work is hanging on the walls, accompanied by two giant LED flat screens, each displaying flat blue maps of the globe.

A clean-cut business type is at work on his Apple laptop, next to a couple of friends catching up, sharing digital photos on a Mac of their own. There’s a business-type of meeting happening underneath the front windows while I’m scribbling notes, next to a baby grand piano underneath the world.

Skellie and Gilbert are making coffee behind the counter.

“That’s the joy of the place is what goes on out here,” Skellie said in response to my appreciation of seeing the owners behind the counter.

“I can’t imagine there would ever be a time, no matter how successful we might get, that one of us wouldn’t be here,” Gilbert added. “But making coffee and washing dishes? That might be another matter.”

The near decade-long friends Gilbert and Skellie opened The Global Bean last October after many conversations revolving around the phrase “you know, we should start a coffee shop ... .”

Gilbert ran a software company at the time while Skellie was a socio-pastor at Crossroads Church in Bremerton. Spontaneous souls, they each were feeling the need for a career change and so they finally acted on the years-old intuition that they should indeed open a coffee shop.

Only they wanted it to be more than a place to pick up a cup of coffee.

“For us, coffee is the community... it’s what happens over it,” Skellie said. “We want to be the place where fathers play their first game of chess with their son.”

Which happened just the other day, he noted.

The ethos of The Global Bean came largely from Skellie’s culturally colorful past. He spent most of his adolescent years growing up with missionary mom and dad in the Philipines. He’d often have to travel on three-hour boat rides to see his parents, and that’s when he started drinking coffee, sharing cups and conversation with the boat’s captain.

A lifetime later when he was on a mission of his own in Bosnia, the idea for The Global Bean hit him early one morning.

“I’m an early riser, so I was up one morning around five or six, just walking around, trying to find a place that was open, and I found this little coffee shop around a corner down an alley,” he described. “There was no one but locals there, except for me. I ordered a drink through sign language or whatever ... and when I got it and took a drink, it was just marvelous.”

Then and there, Skellie realized that these deliciously impeccable coffees from around the world are best straight from the source. That thought translated into “bringing you the world in your cup” (in more ways than one) on the ground level of an office building in Silverdale.

In addition to its international mix of coffees, the Bean hosts internationally flavored music from local performers including Wednesday night Celtic and bluegrass jam sessions, Tuesday night sit-ins from classical guitar students and the Verdi String Quartet as well as featured musicians on weekends.

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