If you have ever stepped foot into our roastery you know we have a very passionate team. There is a lot of time spent training and learning every aspect of the coffee world. I say world because there is so much that goes into roasting a single bean to brewing a single cup of coffee. The moto we have adopted goes like this…if we don’t all put a 100% into the product and process, we don’t do it all. We are always willing to teach anyone willing to learn so please don’t hesitate to ask questions when you visit us.
Addicted to her own product…
Founder and one of the owners of Cafe Vituoso. Laurie and her business partner, Steve, made quality and 100% organic the top priorities when starting this business. After doing a lot of research on the detrimental impact conventional coffee has on our environment she immediately knew 100% organic was the way to go. So she and Steve went out and bought their first 1/2 kilo roaster and started to roast organic coffee in a 400 sq. ft. location. It is mind boggling to think this ever growing company could have started in a garage and now is one of San Diego’s fastest growing coffee companies.
She is the woman behind our cafe menu and all the sweet specialty drinks. A cortado is her drink of choice. She not only manages the cafe but is one of our business development specialists. You can often find her supporting one of our customers on a Saturday for a grand opening or special event. If you are a restaurant, cafe, coffee cart, etc. and you want to use our products call either Laurie or Rigo. They are always happy to consult and help build your coffee and tea program within your business.
When she is not at work she is volunteering at greyhound rescues, gardening, or on a hike with her husband.
Profession born from passion.
Steve started this business with Laurie because of his love for coffee and the creative process. Roasting coffee is an art form and a science. It is an intricate process that is ultimately unique to each Roast Master. Every time you take a sip of our coffee you are experiencing the result of a long chain of events that make up this creative process.
Steve learned to roast from some of the leading names in the industry. Of course, given his training in Engineering, he also read every thing he could about coffee. Part of the draw for him is that in coffee, one never has the feeling that they have learned everything there is to know. Herein lies the opportunity for a lifetime of learning, experience and passion.
Coffee is only as good as the weekest link in the chain from processing to shipping, roasting and brewing. Even small details like water systems must be fully understood, implemented and maintained if the coffee is to be exceptional. Brewing equipment comes in a wide range of quality and requires constant attention. And then there is the training of each individual. You will find Steve intimately involved in each of these details at Cafe Virtuoso.
When he is not covered in coffee grease, hovering over the roaster or fixing someone’s brewer you will find him sailing, practicing an Asana or hiking in San Diego’s mountains.
A 20 year coffee veteran.
Leads continuing coffee education for barista’s within Cafe Virtuoso and our clients. Consults with new and existing clients on menu planning and beverage programs. Certified in espresso, coffee, and Gold Cup brewing standards. Responsible for weekly cuppings and private tastings. He is involved with the San Diego Home Roasters Club and a founding member of Fair Trade San Diego. This is the man behind a lot of the fair trade coffee and tea we search for.
Rigo is one of the most knowledgable and passionate individuals I know. Not only about coffee but about everything in his life. He is always willing to share the knowledge with anyone willing to learn. Just the other day a woman at the farmers market got a lesson on all the different ways tea is processed and she walked away with a huge smile on her face, dumb founded with all the information she just learned at a farmers market.
When he is not thinking about coffee he is fishing or spending time with his family and kids.
Born and raised in the European Espresso culture.
You can usually find Marta hidden under a pile of invoices and inventory paperwork with the phone propped between her shoulder and her ear. If you have ever called Cafe Virtuoso you have probably talked to Marta. She is responsible for keeping us all on track and one of the best “jugglers” we have. Her skills and passion touch every part of this business from bookeeping to marketing to pulling a perfect shot of espresso.
Marta has boundless energy, a contagious smile and will always drop everything she is doing to help even if that means carrying a large box of product to your car in her white pants and platform shoes!
Her free time is devoted to her children, enjoying the beach, or visiting an art gallery.
Caught the coffee bug – hard!
Although Julie wasn’t born in San Diego, she got here as soon as she could. She and her husband Justin are strong advocates for embracing a sustainable way of living and that includes organics. Although her background is in art and photography (many or most of the photos on this website are her work), she found herself drawn to agriculture and upon moving to San Diego she began working on a local organic farm.
Julie has since moved up north to Seattle to give birth to her adorable baby, but she still stays part of the Virtuoso team virtually through taking photographs and contributing to blog posts.
She comes to our team with the fiery passion for sustainable coffee production and markets. She studied Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems at University of California, Santa Cruz and minored in Spanish, finding her passion for coffee in the trenches of Matagalpa, Nicaragua where she did her thesis work. She then returned to her hometown of San Diego and completed Paralegal Studies at University of San Diego before stumbling onto Virtuoso. She knew the instant that she found out they only roast organic coffee and deal with the fair trade market that this is where she wanted to make a career. She begged Laurie & Steve for a barista job and then convinced Marta & Julie to give her a chance in the office. After two weeks, she was set.
Lauren provides our wholesale customers with whatever they need and comes up with tons of wacky marketing ideas on how to spread the word about Virtuoso because, of course, everyone should know how good this place is.
She came to us from corporate Starbucks to run our cafe in tip top shape and then caught the specialty coffee bug hard. She quickly realized that she was super interested in coffee and wanted to pick up roasting. She apprenticed with Roastmaster Steve and now runs our production department in tip top shape.
When she’s not catching up on the latest addition of Roast magazine at home, she’s swimming in any pool of water possible and reading books with as much fervor. She studied English Literature in school so she also does some writing for Virtuoso’s blog and website.
Our newest cafe manager comes to us from managing cafes on UCSD campus as well as at the La Jolla Playhouse Coffee Bar. He studied History at UCSD and is an expert in all things Colonial. He brings a creative vibe to whatever he does – the drink menu, cafe organization, and even his stylish clothes.