San Diego's Finest Organic Coffee & Tea


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It is extremely easy to get caught up in the aesthetically pleasing appearance of cafes, especially ones that house beautiful roasters like the one we have here at Virtuoso. Espresso machines, grinders, pour over mechanisms all have such an appealing yet minimal look to them, and to the customer they seem antique, intricate and difficult to handle. The baristas also provide the everyday coffee enthusiast with ample stimulation. They grind, pull, and design your drink, right in front of your eyes.

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The specialty coffee experience is beautiful, but there is one major contributor to a roaster’s success that is commonly overlooked. It takes place at workstations similar to the one captured below. This is production. We are the worker bee or the work force of any roaster. Our job title means many things and we are a key part of any roaster’s success. We label, stamp, and package hundreds of pounds of coffee in a day.  We navigate pallets of green coffee and manually move around bags that weigh 150 pounds.  We adorn ourselves in coveralls and have our heads stuck in the roaster for hours at a time, scrubbing and scraping away at what the previous week’s roasting left behind.  We do not have an easy or a glamorous job, but we love it.

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Before being given this position I was told that, “It wasn’t for everyone.” I was told that it was an extremely important position, and that my work has more of an impact with customers than you would think.  The bag of beans that is so beautifully displayed in the store front is the only connection most customers will have with the company. Aunt Sue may have bought her nephew a bag of Guatemala before he set out to college, or Mr. Jerry probably shipped out a bag of our Cove blend to his client in New York as a nice gesture for their business. Because of these quaint encounters with these unique customers, our bags need to be beautiful and consistent. We do our best to not overwhelm our customers with brew instructions, excessive logos, and other things that might make it easier to produce a bag that hides imperfections and neglectful work. We keep it simple so that you know exactly what origin your about to brew, and where your quality roasted beans come from.

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Production is not for the type-A personality. My loud and obnoxious self actually had to adjust accordingly. Attention to detail for hours at a time is an epic task to tackle, and it takes a lot out of you when you’re first getting accustomed to it. But what really matters is that you take ownership of your work and that you see yourself as a substantial part of your company. You need that drive to rip off and redo that off centered label, or do just the right math on that popular blend.

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I hope we were able to give you a little insight on a fun yet overlooked part of running a successful cafe.



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This has been a great week of accomplishments for our team members at Cafe Virtuoso.

In a true show of her hard work and commitment to professionalism, Savannah aced her Specialty Coffee Association Barista certification!

Our roaster apprentice, Alice, reached a major milestone this week when Coffee Review gave a Guatemala she roasted a score of 91!

And finally, on the local barista scene, Vanessa won the Latte Art competition at the Thursday Night Throwdown (TNT) last night!

Be sure to congratulate these girls on their individual accomplishments.  We couldn’t be more proud of them and the best is yet to come!


Rising Stars

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Wondering where all of your spent coffee grounds go?…

photo 1photo 2We met up with Beth, Joan, & Phillip at our partner farm, the Peace Garden, to get an official tour of where all of our used coffee grounds go!  The Peace Garden is located in between the 15 & the 805 freeways in an urban, repurposed area.  This group partners with a local church, Adams Avenue bike shop, and nearby schools to create this beautiful community 3photo 2One of our Bean Brain fans, Joan, approached Steve & Laurie about using our spent grounds for the community garden compost about a year ago.  She said that she previously was picking up from local coffee shop, Twiggs, but that she wished to collect organic grounds only so she made the switch to Virtuoso.  And we sure are happy she did!  We divert about 30 gallons of used coffee ground waste from our landfill and this beautiful garden is able to use them to make tasty, nutritious 1Virtuoso Staffers, Vanessa & Amanda, visited the farm as they are our staff experts on the subject of farming and all things sustainable.  These girls had a blast learning about the garden’s permiculture, no till garden boxes, composting technique, heirloom varieties of crops, and tons 7photo 5photo 6Vanessa sits underneath a shady fortress that Philip built out of used bicycle rims, provided by Adams Ave Bike Shop.  Here, cucuzzas grow up these recycled trellises and provide a shady space for groups of kids to learn in the garden on a hot day. photo 4photo 3photo 8Beth tells us about her vision for the long term plans for the garden – a bigger worm composting faciliity, adding chickens to the mix, and an outdoor kitchen for community members to share garden grown meals.  She also invites bean brains and the rest of the community to join her on the first Friday of every month for a potluck with garden 9photo 10Our coffee grounds go into this hot heap! THe grounds are mixed in with other organic materials to make a potion of nitrogen & carbon, steamed at a high of 120 degrees to create a nutrient rich soil additive.  All natural!photo 11Thanks Peace Garden!

Visit them at 3850 Westgate Place, San Diego, CA  92105 or at their website here.



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