Looking Homeward Coffee owner Jake Deome has popped up in Madrona, where he’s balancing his time in front of an espresso machine with building out his first café there.

“This location fell into my lap, and I was like, it’s too good to be true,” Deome said.

Deome is taking over a long-vacant space next to Madrona Arms on 34th Avenue, which he expects to have open sometime this spring. Until then, he’ll have his pop-up out front 8 a.m. to noon weekdays, building a rapport with the community.

“I love this neighborhood; this neighborhood is brilliant,” said Deome, who first visited Madrona last summer. “Everyone’s just so nice over here. Everyone’s polite, kind and friendly, and it’s what my fiancée and I were looking for in a neighborhood.”

Deome grew up in California, where he developed his passion for coffee.

“I sort of fell in love with coffee when I was 14, just from drinking it,” he said.

His dad would take him to 7-11, where he would pick up a cup, and after high school he became a Starbucks barista, he said, where his interest in flavors and learning how to roast coffee developed.

Deome spent six years as quality control manager at Temple Coffee Roasters in Sacramento.

“I’ve always wanted to live in Seattle,” he said, adding he made his first trip to the Emerald City in 2012 for his birthday. “After that weekend, I was like, ‘I’m going to move here someday.”

He finally made the move in summer 2018 and, to his surprise, secured a job working at Canlis, a fine-dining institution in Seattle. Deome bought a suit on credit, which he said he quickly returned following his interview.

“They took a chance on me, because I was weird and had that character they were looking for for their team at that time,” he said.

He spent six months as a food runner and barista, learning from Canlis various aspects of operating a business and providing quality service.

“The way they treat their training style is all or nothing,” Deome said. “They throw you into it, but they also guide your training.”

Deome left Canlis in December 2018, and four months later he launched Looking Homeward Coffee, selling a variety of coffee beans sourced from around the world, working with old industry friends and acquaintances to find the right producers.

The beans come from Ethiopia, Peru, Brazil, Rwanda and Colombia, and Deome does his own roasting in Seattle, using a friend’s facility in Greenwood.

He describes his designs for his first coffee shop as warm, comfortable and inviting, with a service-focused approach. He’s bringing a former Canlis worker on as his general manager.

“I’m doing some things that haven’t been done, that I’ve seen,” Deome said, “and things that I’ve always wanted to see in a coffee shop.”

Plans are to start with coffee, tea and pastries, he said, and likely add some lunch items in the future.

Deome said he’s still looking for staff, and his desire is to have people with little experience with coffee apply, so he can provide the kind of training he hopes they’ll one day apply when they move on.

“We’re focused on building sustainable careers,” he said. “Each barista position will have a secondary aspect to it, focused on another part of the industry.”

Deome said he also wants to someday open his own roastery, where baristas can come and learn the process.

“It’s a big commitment,” he said of opening a coffee shop, “and then it’s also a culmination of all my past experiences.”

Before getting serious about coffee, Deome changed his focus in college from history to creative writing to theater.

He designed his own website and creates the art for the varieties of bagged coffee people can buy online or at his pop-up while the physical location is coming together.

As for the name, Deome said Looking Homeward was something he’d come up with while working with a fellow barista in California.

“One of the things we always talked about was what home was,” he said.

His parents had left San Jose for Chico, California, and Deome had just moved to Sacramento; he said he didn’t feel like he had a home at the time.

“That’s when Looking Homeward came up,” he said. “‘Oh, that would be a nice philosophical mentality to have.’”

Deome said he wants his Madrona coffee shop to be a home for employees and a place where he can work on building community.

Keep up with the shop's progress at lookinghomewardcoffee.com or on Instagram @lookinghomewardcoffee.