Austin: Flat Track Coffee
Words by Joanna Han Photographs by Michael A. Muller
Squeeze into tiny Flat Track Coffee for an excellent cup of coffee and great conversation.
When a tiny space in the back of Austin’s Farewell Books became available for rent, old friends Sterling Roberts and Matthew Bolick hastily signed the lease, built out the space and opened Flat Track Coffee on a random Tuesday afternoon in 2012. “I made coffee while Sterling was still screwing in the last few pieces of the bar—it was crazy,” says Matthew. “The response since then has been amazing.”
The pair met at a skate park as kids and complement each other well as business partners: Sterling is a highly skilled handyman and the more business-minded of the two, and Matthew’s been working in coffee for the past decade, most recently training under Tyler Wells of Handsome Coffee Roasters. They began by serving coffee at events using coffees from their favorite roasters then eventually moved on to roasting themselves, opening wholesale accounts here and there with local coffee shops. The goal was always to open their own shop.
Designed by Lilianne Steckel with branding work by Caleb Everitt and Ryan Rhodes of Land, Flat Track is as minimal of an operation as it gets. Equipped with a two-group La Marzocco GB-5 in a handsome custom matte black, the shop doesn’t offer food or WiFi, and there are just six bar stools in the interior plus a bench out front. “Our shop is just 150 square feet—an extremely tight squeeze. We love that our customers end up chatting with each other instead of blocking each other out with laptops. It’s really rad to see two people randomly meet in our shop one day, then hear about projects they’re working on together the next,” says Matthew. “We have the best customers—it’s ridiculous.”
The pair is currently busy working on a craft beer and coffee bar set to open in Austin this fall as well as an in-house line of bottled cold-brewed coffee.
913 E. Cesar Chavez St
Austin, Texas 78702