Caffé Vita participated in the inaugural Pike Street Market Artisan Food Festival this past weekend and we had a wonderful time. The sun shone down and we served espresso drinks all weekend long. All proceeds from drink sales will be donated to the Pike Market Clinic and Senior Center.
Thanks to everyone who came out to see us!
Caffé Vita at Pike Place Artisan Food Fest from jvoss on Vimeo.
This Friday, October 1st, at 11 a.m. our green bean buyer Daniel will be holding an intimate coffee cupping experience with some beans he’s brought back from his recent trip to Brazil. Coffee cuppings happen every day behind the scenes at Caffé Vita, but what’s unique about this one is that they are all different coffees that come from the same farm in Brazil. This will allow tasters to experience the subtleties and differences between coffees that come from the same farm, but differ in processing and varietal. Also, these beans are extremely fresh. Daniel brought them back in his luggage from Brazil. Beans harvested at a similar time would take another month to get here through normal shipping channels.
We have only a few spots left to participate in this unique experience. Cupping will take place at 11 a.m. at our Capitol Hill location.
…or “oot und aboot” if you’re from Canuckistan.
Pike Place Market Artisan Food Festival
What: Just like it sounds, the PPMAFF will be filled with booths from purveyors of the finest meats, cheeses, produce, wine, chocolate, and coffee that the Pacific Northwest has to offer. It’s free to attend and Caffé Vita will be slinging free coffee in a booth shared with Via Tribunali Pizza (booth located near the entrance to the market on Pike, where they throw fish).
Where: Pike Place Market downtown.
When: Saturday, Sept. 25th 10am-6pm and Sunday, Sept. 26th 10am-5pm.
Hope to see you all out there!
As I approach Carmo de Minas it became apparent that this terrain is far more varied than the arid savannah I’ve left behind in Cerrado. Rolling hills and streams; palms, sugar cane and banana trees provide a lush warmth. Situated in the valley of the Rio Verde, and flanked by the Serra da Mantiqueira mountains, Carmo de Minas is a unique region, with rich soil and natural mineral springs ideal for coffee cultivation.
I arrive at Ibraim’s farm just in time for lunch, and I am greeted with a hearty meal of rice, beans, okra, stewed chicken, and fresh passionfruit juce. Also present at every meal is a round of cheese, made fresh everyday from the rich raw milk of thier cows.
At the highest elevations within the farm remain a week or so of ripe cherries to be harvested and processed. These cherries are destined for the pulping machine, which sorts the coffee by weight and then extrudes the fruit through a tube which removes the skin and flesh from the cherry leaving only the parchment covered bean, and some slimy mucilage. These are then spread into a thin layer on the patio, and are raked regularly to ensure prompt and even drying.
Once the coffee has lost most of its moisture, it is transfered to a tulia (storage room) to rest. After the designate period of resting, the coffee is milled to remove the parchment, and trucked down the the local co-op for sorting, cupping, and grading. Each lot is kept separate, and the valuable feedback from the co-op provides the farmer with the knowledge necessary to continually improve the quality of harvest.
I have been greatly impressed by the dedication, hard work, and attention to detail shown by all of the farmers I met on my travels through Brazil, and look forward to maintaining our relationship with them upon my return to Seattle – a mere 32 hours of travel away.
There is not a cloud in sight, it hasn’t rained in months, and the brick red soil is begging for water. The harvest in Cerrado is winding down, the long hot winter having produced one of the biggest crops in history. Sophisticated irrigation systems have provided the trees with precisely the amount of water necessary for their survival, and rigorous sorting, grading and cupping have determined the exceptional lots destined for the specialty market.
Each day has been filled with visits to farms and cooperatives, each preparing cuppings and explanations of everything from traceability to production and sustainability. The best coffees of this region are low bodied and sweet, with flavors of chocolate, nuts, and orange peel.
Ninety percent of coffee in Cerrado is produced naturally – the whole fruit is placed on drying patios, regularly raked to promote even drying until the moisture content is reduced to 15 %, at which point it is finished to 11% moisture in large wood fired drums. The coffee is then milled, rigourously sorted, and stored in burlap sacks at cooperative warehouses such as this one in Patrocinio.
After a short flight back to Sao Paulo, I will drive to the rolling hills of Carmo de Minas to check in on the harvest where many consider to be the best coffee in Brazil. Stay tuned . . .
Dates for the fall and early winter for our wildly popular Public Brewing School (PBS) have been announced! PBS is a two-hour class taught by our trainer Andy Kent and is geared towards helping you create the best coffee you can while you are at home. Processes covered include pour over, french Press, vacuum pot, Bialetti, Chemex, and more. PBS is always on Saturday at 10am and always free. It is held at our Capitol Hill location, in our cupping room above the roasterie.
If you are interested in attending any PBS session, please email Andy Kent at email@example.com
The weekend we accepted a gracious invitation from Blue Hour’s Bruce Carey to attend a stellar celebration for Blue Hour’s 10th anniversary. The party was actually a benefit to raise money for Mercy Corps and included copious amounts of delicious food and drink (and homemade ice cream), and a performance by Storm Large.
We brought in our mobile espresso cart to provide guests and staff with some much needed fuel to bring the party well into the night. Via Tribunali also provided their rolling pizza oven and was slinging fresh pies as fast as we were slinging fresh espresso. All in all, it was a great time and Bruce estimates something in the neighborhood of $18,000 was raised for Mercy Corps. Happy 10th Blue Hour, and thank you!
On Monday myself and few Caffé Vita folks were able to take a wonderful sunny walk around the new South Lake Union Amazon campus, finished off by a brewing demo. We were lucky enough to be asked to do a surprise coffee demo for 130 out of state/country Amazon employees. It was great seeing the excitement in their eyes when we showed up with lots of brewed Farm Direct Gayo River Sumatra (brewed in both French Press and Cold Press method for the demo). At first I thought there excitement arose from a break in their morning of PowerPoint presentations, but I was thrilled to be completely wrong with my preconceived notion: Amazon was stoked about coffee!
We’re hip. We’re cool. We twit on our MyFace page.
And now, Caffé Vita is giving Foursquare a go by launching a check-in special at our Capitol Hill store all long-weekend long: now through Monday, check-in here on Foursquare and you get 25 percent off coffee or an espresso drink. How good is that? If you’re like our trainer Andy and have no idea what Foursquare is…you best figure it out.
|Make sure to click through the break for a slideshow…
Last friday, our Capitol Hill location was abustle in the early morning hours as final preparations were made to finally move the vintage 60-kilo Probat roaster, which has sat idle in our green bean room for the past four years, into the roasterie to be used in production.
For the past 11 years, Caffé Vita has relied on our trusty circa-1930 45-kilo Probat roaster to pump out our fine craft-roasted beans for both our cafés and wholesale customers. The new 60-kilo will not replace the 45-kilo, nor will it operate simultaneously, but rather the impetus behind finally installing it was Caffé Vita’s need for a fail-safe against the breakdown of the 45-kilo. When your entire business is built around the operation of a single machine that’s around 80 years old, well, you just need to have a back-up plan in place. Prior to the new-to-us 60-kilo roaster, “Plan B” involved roasting beans in a facility on one of the ferry-accessed islands outside of Seattle. As you might imagine, such an instance would be a logistical nightmare, not to mention financially unfavorable for us.
Thus, in the brisk early morning hours up on Capitol Hill, Operation New Roaster began. The first step was to fork-lift the 2,000 pound steel stand for the roaster’s afterburner through the front door of the café. As groggy customers waited in line for their last push into the weekend, Marty Curtis from Combustion Systems Sales and Service expertly maneuvered the fork-lift through the café and over creaking wood floors, much to the concern of the baristas on staff. Then, the afterburner was lifted by a giant crane from the parking lot behind Vita and threaded through a hole in the roof with only inches to spare on each side. The two were welded together and the roaster was finally brought in the same way the stand came: via fork-lift through the front doors.
When all was said and done, an entire day had passed. Five days later, crews are still working on things like wiring, hooking up gas lines, sealing up the roof, and an never-ending list of preparations that need doing before the roaster will even be fired up: an unknown date that’s surely at least a couple weeks in the future. And even once the roaster is operational, it still must be “seasoned” before it’s ready to enter regular production.
Please stop by sometime and look through the windows at the Capitol Hill café at our proud new addition. You can get even closer by signing up for the next Public Brewing School on September 11th.