Good morning, good evening, good day wherever you are. There’s something we want to tell you. Sit down, grab a cup of coffee, and get comfortable.
Our coffee has been cradled by the same old bags for over a decade. Some people love them and the mystery of our hunched-hero Pulcinella on top of our first cafe’s pastry case. Some people hate that we haven’t updated our bag design in a decade. We think it’s pretty cool that a decade-old bag design has aged like a fine wine. We love our classic logo and design, but know we are long overdue for an update. If not for looks, then for sustainability. At the time these were made, compostable wasn’t something people were talking about. Lots of people were still doubting this thing called climate change. But now we have incredible young people like Greta Thunberg reminding us how important our home planet is. Our new bags are Biotrē 2.0, made of 100% renewable materials. They aren’t fully compostable, because that bag doesn’t exist yet. If it did, we’d have it. We’ve heard that Biotre is working on it, and as soon as it comes out we’re buying it. But in the meantime, we’ve got this bag, which is the best and most environmentally friendly coffee bag available.
The new logo and bag design are a reflection of a new era of Vita under new ownership. On January 1st of 2020, Deming Maclise took over Caffe Vita. Deming started his career as a barista at Uptown Espresso where he met his future wife and business partner. Now he owns some of Seattle’s coolest restaurants and a string of organic coffee houses called Caffe Fiore- which we’ll talk about later.
Vita has always been about the people. We’ve spent years learning from some of the best in coffee including Andy Kent of Stamp Act, Jacob Ibarra of Tenfold, and Dan Donahue of Blue Star. In 2020, we somehow convinced Tom Buckley and Scott Bladwin to come back to team Vita. Tom spent a decade away from Vita as Head of Partnerships for a little espresso machine company called La Marzocco and Scott was Head of Sales for Ladro. Then, we hired on US Barista Champion Sam Spillman, asked her to write her dream job description, and gave her that job. Then, we had coffee with Stumptown’s Director of Sal es, Skip Columbo, and fell in love. Later down the line we got him on team Vita and the rest is history. He’s currently holding down the fort at our Portland roaster while Sam works on improving our coffees. Tom and Scott are hanging at our HQ with Deming and holding down the fort in Seattle. Not to flaunt it, but we’ve hired some of the best brains in coffee and we’re headed big places.
Nobody could have predicted what would happen under new ownership in 2020. We thought it would be all smiles and rainbows, and then this thing called Covid happened and we had to take a step back and think big about who we are and where we’re going. Under our new ownership, Deming Maclise, and the leadership of our amazing team we’ve adapted and readapted and worked hard to keep our community safe in the face of a global pandemic. We created a COVID-19 relief blend raising money for relief funds & inviting other roasters to join us in the #RoastersForRelief initiative. We created online ordering & Big Sips (our bottled lattes) with contactless pick-up in less than a week. We added a virtual barista tip jar to raise funds for our staff. We made the difficult decision to close our cafes in Silverlake LA, Pioneer Square, Ballard, & Greenwood. Still, we rolled with the punches, launching new products, improving our coffee offerings, & starting to rewrite our story.
Now to the good part. New bags.
It took a full calendar year, but we’ve finally received the long-awaited shipment of our brand new bags. Our Purchasing Manager Kori almost had a heart attack because the bags were delayed by a few months due to something weird happening in the Pacific ocean. We actually ran out of our old bags and had to order a bunch of stickers to get us through, which is why you may have noticed our bags looking rather rough lately. But that just makes our new bags even sweeter. So, on March 2nd of 2021, we will officially launch our brand new Biotre 2.0 bags with our gorgeous new design. These bag designs are a year in the making, by local artist Karl Maxx, who also hand-drew the cool alpen-looking typeface for our new logo. The back features our tried-and-true legacy logo - Pulcinella, raising up a cup. We're keeping the old, while phasing in the new! Each coffee has a different color, chosen by US Barista Champion Sam Spillman and our coffee team to match the flavor profile, farm story, and overall experience of the coffee. Not to brag, but a few folks on our team are synesthetic, which made the color selection, um, pretty cool. The colors were interpreted by our designer Max, who was inspired by the color palettes of Wes Anderson films and iconic Seattle landmarks and Washington outdoor spots. The bags also include updated flavor notes, roast profile, and certifications. We’re really proud of them, so if you don’t like them maybe keep it to yourself so you don’t hurt our feelings.
The last year hasn’t been easy, but moments like this make it worth the trouble. We know life has its ups and its downs. Things don’t always turn out the way you plan. But we like to think that our future is at least at a higher elevation, so the highs are Mt Rainier high and the lows are Queen Anne Hill low- which we can handle.
Vita means life and this is ours. Great people, great coffee. That’s everything.