Caffe Vita is an independently owned Seattle coffee company that's been roasting coffee locally since 1995. The Capitol Hill location isn't the original store (that's in Queen Anne), but it is one of the nicest — a large, two-story place with comfortably worn wooden tables and floors and plenty of room to kick up your feet, power up your laptop, and relax.
They offer a variety of coffee and tea blends, plus some small snacks and pastries, and you'll never feel rushed out the door. Caffe Vita bagged coffees are also one of my favorite gifts to take to out-of-town friends — a real taste of independent Seattle.
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Affordable Luxury: Complex Coffee with a Conscience
At Caffe Vita’s roasting facility during Afar Experiences Seattle, amid chest-high stacks of green coffee beans, Daniel Shewmaker shared insights on Seattle’s coffee culture. Childhood memories of green coffee purchased at market on the Indonesian islands of Sulawesi and Java wafted through his passion for bringing home the best sustainably-grown coffees the world has to offer.
One thing importers like Daniel would like the public to know is that high-quality, fresh coffee from sustainable growers is a high-labor proposition. Coffee is fickle. It only grows in certain climates. One pound of beans starts with 7 pounds of fruit. Everything has to be right. Fruit is pulled, processed, washed; water sources and the environment must be respected; beans are stored and shipped around the world, then stored and roasted. Green coffee stores well for 6 to 9 months. After roasting, a 10-day flavor clock starts ticking. To extend flavor, green coffee can be roasted at home.
Caffe Vita sells coffee you can’t buy from a broker in the states. It works with small growers to identify the most flavorful varieties and ensure quality. The company sets a minimum price and pays over the commodity price in order to sustain growers and offer protection from speculation and drought.
All of which elevates Caffe Vita to a sustainably conscientious position – an affordable luxury beverage with complex aromatics and unique flavors cultivated to sustain palate, spirit, and community.