New coffee spot coming to Westport

FAIRFIELD — What’s the difference between a coffee shop and a coffee bar? Virtually nothing, said Ed Freedman, owner of Shearwater Organic Coffee Roasters.

There is one difference, however, according to Freedman, and that is what the word “bar” symbolises: A “third wave” of coffeemaking. It encompasses a new way of brewing coffee, which includes sourcing, roasting and brewing.

Freedman will be making a home for this wave of coffeemaking at his new Shearwater location on the Post Road in Westport this summer.

Using the term “coffee bar” is also cognizant of the stuffy nature of premium-quality coffee shops, Freedman said. Instead, he wants to create an open, inviting space where coffee is enjoyed, not just tolerated. The way he achieves this is twofold: creating a both a product and a space he believes to be welcoming.

To do that, the shop will share a similar setup to its Fairfield Brick Walk location, with large glass windows, indoor and outdoor seating, natural light and an inviting energy. As for the product, being the only USDA organic certified roaster in Fairfield County separates their coffee from the rest.

Freedman said going from generic coffee to organic coffee is like, “eating food fresh versus three-day-old leftovers.”

Shearwater has coffee bars in both Trumbull and Fairfield, but through their small-batch sourcing and organic roasting, sells its beans to a couple dozen restaurants and cafes in the state.

He said he sees Westport as a town in need of high-quality organic alternatives to Starbucks, a place where he claims many people may go more for convenience than actually liking the coffee.

“We’re inundated in Connecticut,” he said. “The land of the Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks.”

The new shop will be in the building that used to house Bertucci’s restaurant. The space has been vacant for almost a year, and has since been gutted, remodeled and completely redesigned.

It’s a big space, around 20,000 square feet, according to Freedman. And he will have some neighbors.

Before signing the dotted line, Freedman was told in addition to office spaces on the second floor, a Brooklyn-based pizzeria named Ignazio’s and One River Westport art school will also be sharing the building.

After meeting with architects, and health, zoning and building department officials, Shearwater has started construction. Freedman estimates it to take a little over two months, and is expecting to open for business in July.

Choosing Westport seemed like a natural step for Freedman, as it shares Fairfield’s demographics and tastes. Because it’s on the Post Road he anticipates many people will have seen their sign within a month of being open.

Despite a lot of comings and goings of businesses in Westport, Freedman isn’t phased.

“I don’t think these businesses are closing from a lack of business,” he said. “I think it’s businesses reflecting on the times. I think that’s what we’re bringing to Westport. We’re filling a void.”