This is the first summer that Counterbalance Roasters  roasted all the coffee offered at the shop. Mercedes has been roasting with her husband, Rafael, on Queen Anne hill - behind his violin shop. They formed Counterbalance Roasters this past May. 

Counterbalance Roasters takes it name from the top of Queen Anne hill. The counterbalance was a tram system, balanced by weights, that would take passengers to the top of the hill. The original tram still sits under  Queen Anne Avenue. 


Mercedes, the owner of Ghost Alley Espresso, is a skilled home cook who relies on intuition & smell when cooking. Her experience cooking, in business and in the coffee world direct Counterbalance Roasters offerings. She carefully chooses the green beans, creates the roasting profiles and lovingly fills each retail bag offered by Counterbalance Roasters.

Rafael is a world renowned luthier and has been a part of the Queen Anne community for 30 years. His skills; restoring fine instruments, creating varnishes, and responding to the individual needs of his customers lend themselves to the art of roasting coffee. He is patient when roasting and eager to work with green beans from unique locations.

Rafael's son, Alex, also roasts coffee for Counterbalance Roasters. A jazz musician and recent college graduate, Alex is a natural at roasting coffee. He is especially good at well balanced medium roasts. 

Together the three roast in a tiny converted machine room behind the violin shop. They use a Diedrich 2.5 roaster. Green beans come from many origins and two are purchased directly from farms in Central America.