Monthly Archives: June 2014

The Vita Escort – On How to Celebrate America’s Birthday

| June 27, 2014

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Long live the red, white and blue.

It may technically not be until next Friday, but the Fourth of July is the best part of any summer.

Bringing together great friends, family and lots of memories, we’re all reminded why it’s great to be American for at least one day every year.

And since it’s a shout-out to our Forefathers, we’re letting you know how to appropriately celebrate the greatest damn country in the world—just like they did back in 1776.

This is the Vita Escort on how to celebrate America’s Birthday.

8. On a Lake or At a Pool

Is there truly any other way to celebrate the Fourth of July than being lathered up in sunscreen and laying out around a pool or enjoying a floating dock on a lake?

We definitely don’t think so—and neither should you.

With temperatures often above the mid-80s, dipping your toes in the water and enjoying the cool water is refreshing—just remember to doggy paddle to stay afloat.

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7. Boats

On the topic of water, while it’s always a blast swimming in the water, there are few things better than a boat to enjoy everything about warm weather.

Whether relaxing on a sail or pontoon boat, or tubing on a speed boat, having a boat to celebrate America’s birthday is something that our forefathers would appreciate if they were still around—after all, what do you think Columbus used to discover this country? It wasn’t an airplane.

6. Budwieser

For those who are counting calories and worried about how they’ll look in a mankini, this holiday isn’t for you.

That’s because the Fourth of July offers one day—or in this year’s case, one weekend—where the only beer anyone should be drinking is Budweiser.

We’re not talking Bud Light or something that’s described as a “crisp, cool, summer ale,” either.

We’re talking Bug Heavy, complete with the American Flag can for extra effect—so roll up those sleeves and drink a few cold ones.

5. Jean Shorts

Jorts is typically a fashion statement that people should stay away from—not on the Fourth of July, though.

We’re not quite sure when the decision was made that denim would be the unofficial outfit for us great American people, but at some point it was adopted as being acceptable on July 4th.

And if you’re wondering, yes, this means guys are legally OK to get away with wearing those cargo jean shorts that have been collecting dust in your closet since the mid-‘90s.

Remember, the wackier the outfit, the better the party.

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4. BBQ

Want to know the beauty of barbecuing on the Fourth of July? It’s that all the calories you consume are empty.

No, seriously.

Every single Ruffle potato chip that you scoop in that onion dip and every hot dog you eat just vanishes as if it’s a free day to chow—and you better believe we chow.

So fire up that grille and toss on the hamburgers, hot dogs, sausages, veggie burgers and chicken, because the smell of BBQ on the Fourth of July is an American holiday in itself.

3. Rock n’ Roll

Now’s not the time to get cute with your playlist—you’re not running five miles here.

This is when you break out hits from classic rock bands like The Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd and, naturally, Hendrix.

Rock n’ Roll is what built this country—sort of—and when you’ve got a backyard full of friends and family singing every single word, you’ll be proud that you deleted that mix that included all those poppy songs kids are listening to these days.

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2. LOTS of American Flags

Like we mentioned when talking about jean shorts, the wackier the outfit, the bigger the party—and once should never be bashful in wearing the stars and stripes.

Sunglasses, headbands, towels, flags as skirts; these are all appropriate items to wear at the same time while blasting “The Star Spangled Banner” on repeat in your rusted up truck and a bald eagle following you down the highway.

OK, that’s a little bit absurd, but we’d have no problem anointing you a bigger American than the President if you did it.

1. Fireworks

After all of this fun in the sun, there’s only one way to close out the entire day—colorful explosions in the sky.

Go to the park and spend some quality time with friends to watch them or get yourself some to light off at your own house, because it’s the culmination of, what should have been, a great day—just remember to wear bug spray, you wouldn’t want the skeeters biting you to ruin the

Featured Product of the Week: Caffe Vita x BLK Pine Workshop Travel Pack

| June 25, 2014

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There’s nothing like a cool, slick, stylish bag to help carry everything you need this summer. Whether it’s packing towels for a day trip to the beach, hauling your laptop around or needing a convenient carry-on for summer vacation, we have the perfect option for you.

Teaming up with BLK Pine Workshop here in Seattle, Vita is offering the Road Travel Pack for our customers to currently order online—eventually making its way into a few cafes over the next few months.

Retailing for $130, the pack features include 18 oz. duck canvas – 100% cotton, nylon handle, canvas webbing and adjustable nylon straps, interior sleeve pocket, Vita travel mug sleeve, metal snap buttons and strap adjusters.

In addition to the pack itself, Vita is also providing a 12 oz. bag of our Farm Direct, Single Origin, Ethiopia Yirgacheffe coffee to enjoy—as Vita’s Green Coffee Buyer, Daniel Shewmaker, traveled to Ethiopia last year with this very travel pack.

With only a few available in our online shop, be one of the first to own this great travel pack.

Buy the Caffe Vita x BLK Pine Workshop Travel Pack in our Online Shop.

The Vita Escort – On How to Properly Watch the World Cup

| June 20, 2014

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Assuming you haven’t been living under a rock for the past couple of weeks, you’ve probably taken notice of all the soccer jersey’s being worn around town by folks who have World Cup fever.

And as they pack your favorite bars and cozy themselves next to the TV’s, we at Vita want to make sure that you can differentiate between those who just enjoy watching sports and those who actually know what they’re doing—so this is the Vita Escort to watching the World Cup.

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8. Understand the Enormity of It

Much like the Olympics, the World Cup comes around every four years—so, yeah, it’s a pretty big deal.

While some may appear to go over-the-top in their support, this is the one time where yelling at the TV, swearing every other word and crying over a loss is completely OK.

Celebrating a win or sulking over a defeat in any other sport should last for a few hours. But a World Cup result shouldn’t escape someone so easily, instead sticking with them for a couple days because the country they’re rooting for is either overachieving or came up short on expectations—so remember to never judge anyone for their reaction following a game.

7. Expect the Unexpected

What makes the sport of soccer so great is the passion and creativity that pours out of each team and individual.

A goal-scoring celebration, a player crying over their country’s national anthem and, yes, guys losing their cool because they’re caught-up in the moment.

Other sports leagues around the world try and turn their players into robots by limiting what they can and can’t do. But the World Cup is about enthusiasm and love for the game, which lead to some moments that would otherwise be frowned upon by other sports.

6. Always Be Watching

Much like the NCAA tournament that causes us all to have March Madness, the World Cup is a time to always have a game streaming on your work computer.

So whether that means actually watching the game as a split-screen, setting-up shop in the break room where there’s a TV or just listening to what’s going on with headphones from your cubicle, there’s no excuse for missing any action.

We understand that there’s work to get done, but this is the beautiful game we’re talking about here, your boss will understand—since they’re probably doing it themselves, anyway.

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5. Know The Players

OK, so everyone knows about Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Neymar, but don’t come to the bar and ask how England and David Beckham is doing, because, here’s a hint—he doesn’t play for them anymore.

We’re not saying you have to study all 32 countries’ rosters and familiarize yourself with each player, but at least knowing the superstars in the World Cup would be a wise move—and will help you enjoy the matches a lot more.

4. Get a Jersey

In most cases, we’d go against wearing a sport’s jersey of any kind—especially if you’re going with the tucked-in look—but when it comes to the World Cup, it might be the one time where you’ll actually feel like an outsider if you aren’t donning one.

While fans from the NFL, NBA , NHL and MLB mostly look silly wearing oversized jersey with all the bells and whistles on them, soccer jersey’s are more subtle and, in a weird way, prove that you’re a little bit more cultured.

So instead of wearing that polo shirt or button-down, get yourself a jersey to show your allegiance.

3. Know the Chants

I believe that we will win.” If this means nothing to you, we wonder if you’re a real American.

This is the current cheer that Sam’s Army—better known as the U.S.A. supporters—have been chanting for the past couple months in anticipation of the World Cup.

And with the U.S. in the Group of Death—pinned against international powers like Portgual and Germany in their next two matches—one would be wise to inform yourself on what everyone at the bar is yelling—so, at the very least, you can join in and know what the heck it all means.

2. Drink—Heavy Beer

Here in Seattle, there are very few people who don’t know beer. But for those who are still watching their figure by sipping light beers, when there’s a soccer match on, it’s time to change your routine.

Get yourself some Vita coffee to get your stay started—obviously—and then sip on a Guinness, an imported ale out of a stein or simply choose your favorite IPA, because soccer fans know that good beer is essential to watching a good match.

1. Never Record It

We know that this can be difficult if you avoid some of the other tips we’ve given you—like streaming the game from your work computer because you’re too much of a brownnoser—but watching a World Cup game hours after it happened is both silly and nearly impossible.

Why?

On top of social media blowing up during every match—potentially spoiling the result for you—soccer isn’t like other sports where it’s back-and-forth and high-scoring, meaning you could watch an entire game after it happened, and realize the thing ended in a 0-0 tie.

As much as we love the sport, wasting two hours of your life to be let down isn’t worth it.

Fitz and the Tantrums Sits Down With Caffe Vita

| June 19, 2014

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Caffe Vita had the opportunity to head to New York City and get backstage at The Governor’s Ball—you can see the full recap here.

And one of the many advantages of being amongst the many performers is that you get to talk with them, and, sometimes, being fortunate enough to score an impromptu interview with a band following their set.

For us, that band was Fitz and the Tantrums, who, after speaking with them, we came to find out how much we had in common with a few of the members.

In fact, the band’s drummer, John Wicks, was actually one of the first barista’s to work for Vita back in the mid-‘90s, and the group’s frontman, Michael Fitzpatrick (Fitz), is an admitted coffeehead himself.

Fresh off a whirlwind couple of years that have included a critically acclaimed record, chart-topping singles and multiple tour dates, the two guys sat down to talk abouttheir appreciation for making music and, of course, their desire to always have a great cup of coffee to keep them going when on the road.

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Can you talk about the energy that the crowd had during your performance at Governor’s Ball.

Fitz: “It’s great. I mean, we love playing our own headliner shows where you’re surrounded by four walls and the energy is combustible, but at the same time, there’s nothing like playing a festival in front of 10, 20, 30,000 people and seeing them go crazy.

Even when it’s full sun and blazing heat, everyone’s in it together, so it’s cool when they see how hard you’re working on stage and they’re getting down with you.

Wicks: “It can go either way.

To be honest, especially in heat like this, and for an audience who have had a few beers, it can be like today where it’s totally crazy, or it can be like lethargic and fans aren’t really into it.

I could tell after the first few notes today that it was going to be a blast, because the people were ready to party. That’s why we came out of the gate at like an 11, so I think it was an easy sell from the get-go.”

As an artist, is that energy something that you can feel while on stage, and do you take a responsibility in making sure fans leave having a good time?

Fitz: “Yeah. I think that we’ve always set that benchmark for ourselves and, yeah, you can tell if the audience doesn’t know you or isn’t familiar with your songs, and that just makes us work harder to win them over. We just want to blow people’s minds and crush it.”

Wicks: “Yeah. It’s a slipper slope, because, sometimes, fans just aren’t responding the way that you want them to, but, as a drummer, I can try to force it, and, as a result, you can kind of sacrifice groove a lot of times because you’re just trying to make it happen.

It can lose some of the vibe when doing that, though, and instead of trying to make it happen, you just have to let it happen. I’ve always found that by the end of the set, we’ve got them.

Sometimes it takes a little longer, but, by the end of the set, we’ve always got them, no matter what.”

What are some of the things you have coming up this summer?

Fitz: “It’s just shows, shows, shows, festivals, festivals and headline shows. We’re releasing our third single in July called “Fools Gold” off the record, as well.

We’ve been very blessed to have two number one’s from the album already, and what’s great is that we see the growth. We see the audiences getting bigger, and it’s great to have an arsenal of more than just one song that people know.

We thrive and excel on the stage, giving 150 percent every night, every day, it’s where we live and do our best work, so this summer it’s just shows, shows, shows.”

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Do you prefer to be live as opposed to being in the studio?

Wicks: “I think if you would have asked me that question five years ago, I would have given a different answer, because I was very much a studio player then. That was always my goal, to be a studio session guy and play on different people’s records. That’s where I felt most comfortable.

Now, though, not so much. It’s a different mindset, but I think that it’s actually different physically, too. You wait and you wait and you wait and you wait, and you do all these things to fill up the day, and then you get a couple hours (on stage) to just do it. And then, you’re done, and you take a deep breath and the rush is over before doing it all over again the next day. I think it’s a different mindset and different set of muscles that you use, which, I find, equally rewarding now.

But I didn’t think I wanted to do that five years ago.”

Do you miss being on stage when you’re not doing it, day in, day out, especially when it has been such a big part of your life for so long?

Fitz: “Yeah. People ask us all the time why we decided to pursue music, and for John and I, the answer is the same—it was never a choice. It was always just what had to be and there was no other option. We’re not people who searched for years and years for what their path in life was going to be. It’s like we had to make music to feel centered as a human being; for us, at least. That’s just the way it is.

Being on the road is a crazy thing of highs and lows. When you’re not doing a festival, you can be in an empty parking lot behind the club, and then people file in for the show, you do the show with such high energy and you feel the crowd, and then like 30 minutes or an hour later, you’re walking through empty beer cups at the venue and it’s like a ghost town all over again. There’s a really trippy juxtaposition that happens in all of that, so it’s definitely a heightened, bizarre, kind of lifestyle.

Wicks: “For me personally, from working for Caffe Vita for years and years in Seattle, and then working in other cafes after that, coffee became my ritual. Now, with all the downtime that we do have, coffee is still very much my ritual.

That, honestly, not just chemically, provides me a way to avoid falling too low after a show, because we wake up in a different city every morning, and the first thing I do is seek out the best coffee in the city every single morning. I even have a blog for touring musicians that lists the best coffee that I’ve found throughout the U.S. in every city we’ve been to.

I just got so used to doing that as a barista for 10-15 years, and that’s just what I do every morning. In combination with running a ton—Wicks trains for ultra-marathons—it keeps me out of that low.

I mean, we just got off-stage from playing in front of tons of people, and when you get off stage, you’re in a trailer and it’s just, well, sort of depressing from where you just were. So it’s really easy to fall into a depression, which is why I can see why so many musicians got into drugs, because it was either from sheer boredom or to just keep that high after a show going.

For me, coffee really just helps keeps me stay balanced, sticking with my ritual.

Fitz: “That’s one thing that John and I share is, not just a love of coffee, but a love of good coffee. Sometimes we’ll go a few days when on the road of not having a good cup, and, honestly, we’re just in a bad mood.

The great thing now is that there is this coffee culture now that has exploded where we can find the great coffee place in a certain town that do great pulls of shots.

For us, that’s a cool way to get a little window into the part of the city where we would have never gone to, or to see the cool spots in a town because that’s normally where the good coffee tends to come from.

So, yeah, coffee sort of takes us on these adventures.”

Wicks: “I feel a little bit of kinship and maybe a little bit of snobbery because I was in Seattle at the beginning of all that coffee culture, and working for Vita when it first opened.

All these other roaster’s started opening around that time, too, and all these wonderful spots sort of started this whole, next level coffee scene. For that reason, I kind of feel a little bit of ownership on it and take pride in it. I really do, because I loved that gig (working at Vita). It paid the bills for me for so many years when drums didn’t make it.

I feel the same loyalty and thankfulness to coffee that I do to the drums. I really owe everything to coffee and drums. I’ve been able to support a family on coffee and drums. (laughs) I could go on for days.”

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You both mentioned how becoming a musician was never a choice, but that it had to happen. When was the first time you really realized that you were a full-time musician and nothing but that?

Wicks: “For me, personally, almost more recently than I care to admit. It took me moving from Seattle to L.A. to do studio sessions. When I first moved to L.A., man, I didn’t know anyone there and it took over a year for the phone to start to ring for gigs. It was a lean first year on the music side.

Naturally, I turned to coffee, working for Groundworks—which were really the only people doing similar coffee stuff down there. It took about a year before I could take that leap of faith to pursue drums full-time, because you never know how it’s going to go.

Sometimes you’ll have a great week and then the next week will be crickets. I started playing drums in the third grade, and it really didn’t start paying the bills until I was in my thirties. That’s a long wait, man. It’s actually pretty scary.

I take comfort in the fact that, if this ended tomorrow, we consider it a win. We’re playing for thousands of people, have a hit record. Dude, this was the goal. If I had to go back to coffee at this point, I wouldn’t consider that a step down by any stretch of the imagination. I love doing that shit, you know what I mean?

We’ve been hitting just over six years, so it was really only nine years ago when I was able to make my mortgage and buy a house in L.A. just from music.

Fitz: “I’ve been a singer and musician my whole life, but it was only with this band that it was like, ‘this is really happening, I’m not just making music for no one in the world hearing or caring about it, but now we have people show up to shows, knowing the songs and singing the words with you.’

I had a good 15 bands before this where that wasn’t the case, so I switched into other parts of music to make a living, but it wasn’t my dream or true passion, I was just doing a modified version to keep me in the musical world to pay the bills.

And that’s the trippy thing, man, my dream came true. My dream came true one-thousand percent. So it also takes me to a moment where I don’t get to be that cynical, snarky, jaded bastard in the corner anymore because, well, I got mine. I got everything I wanted.

It’s a trip because, when you’re on the other side of that and you’re busting your ass and just getting kicked around and not getting any respect, you get that chip on your shoulder and that mentality and attitude that can become who you are, and when something like this happens, you’re forced to re shift that whole energy level because you can’t be that martyr or bitter critter in the corner.

We know a lot of people who work just as hard and are even more talented, but can’t rub two pennies together in doing what they love. But, for some reason, we all get to pay our bills, support our families and play in front of thousands of people every night, so, like John said, we’ve won.

It’s truly being in the now and the present and appreciating what it already is, and not worrying about the past.”

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What’s next for Fitz and the Tantrums over the next six months to a year?

Fitz: “We’re moving onto the third single off our record, so if we’re lucky enough to keep going with that, than who knows? The crazy thing is that, you think that you’ve expired a ton of energy off one record or that people know about it, but we still see people catching onto our music, winning one, five, ten, 100 fans at a time, and we just keep going and going.

When we do see the light at the end of the tunnel for this record, realistically, sometime in 2015, we’ll carve out time to go write another one. Get back on the horse and do it all over again.”

Wicks: “We’ve reached a lot of our goals and, for me personally, there was a physical checklist that each thing has literally been checked off at this point. It’s really awesome.

Now it’s gotten to the point where I ask, ‘How can I give back?’

For me, now I’m trying to figure out if it’s helping kids out, turning them onto the drums, turning them onto music, turning them onto how to avoid pitfalls—whatever it is.

I’m writing a drum method book write now, too.

These things have provided so much to me and my family, so it’s finding a few things that let’s me give back to feel good.

For so long, as we went through the shitstorm of the music industry, we were always out for number one. But now, I feel like I can take a breath and not have to just look out for myself and try to figure out what’s next.

So I don’t really know the answer to that, but hopefully something that will help some people, because there’s a million ways to do it.”