Southeastern Roastery, A Path to Coffee

I (Lauren) met Candy back in March when she was at Duality Espresso & Whisky Bar officially launching Southeastern Roastery. Talking to her briefly (as she had many supporters in attendance), I was enthralled by her path to coffee and her enthusiasm for this new adventure. I knew her story was one District of Coffee should share, and who better to tell it than the woman herself?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In hindsight, it appears that I have been consciously crafting my coffee quest to create Southeastern Roastery, but this is not quite accurate. The reality is I can only vaguely pinpoint its beginnings let alone any intentional endeavors along the way.

FullSizeRender
Southeastern Roastery is headquartered in Isle of Wight, VA.

My best guess is that I began preparing to enter the vast world of coffee in the summer of 1995, when I decided, clumsily, to start engineering school. Did I know what I was getting into at the time? No. But, math problems were my past-time jigsaw puzzles, I like chemistry, and I emotionally needed the follow-up security that the degree claimed to afford me. Four and a half years I spent toiling in labs, studying fluid flow theories, and sitting through what seemed like endless group meetings. I came away with a diploma noting my skills and put it to use in pulp and paper, oil, and controls design.

After graduation I came to know rural America well. Though beautiful, I experienced enough to know that I did not want to spent spend my adult youth aging there. Also, during this time, I realized that I lost the creative space allowed in learning engineering to the economically driven and controlled processes of industry. I soon became bored with the field in which I was working and needed a change.

The year was 2006 when I made the decision to enter graduate school. By this point, the industrial environment taught me that fields of engineering, and science in general, needed more human guidance. I had witnessed communities complain of industrial waste in water and soil and listened to companies battle with them for increased profits. I was fed-up with an itch for a switch from life in rural, industrial America. So, I registered for a program geared toward natural resource management with an international focus and moved to Central America. This is when I met Costa Rica.

CandyatGMNicaragua
On a more recent trip to Central America, this time to Matagalpa, Nicaragua with Gold Mountain Coffee Growers.

The “rich coast,” with its mountainous islands and luscious rain forests, unwrapped my joy in sylvan pleasures that my adult self had boxed-up from childhood. In this plush landscape, I encountered coffee. Not just the roasted bean, but also its trees, fruit, growers, terrains, and climates – it’s ecosystem. It reminded me of home. As a child, I spent long hours with various family members plowing, planting, watering, and de-weeding gardens of green beans, cantaloupe, collard greens, kale, green peppers, squash, tomatoes, corn, and pumpkin. Nestled between the warm waters of the Pacific and the Caribbean, among frequent earth tremors, through coffee’s familiar yet foreign vegetative environment, I sensed a wider connection to the world that the U.S. alone did not afford me. What I was able to claim as the comforts of home had extended beyond its borders.

I was content with that notion then, and that emotion has stuck with me. It is in this connectivity of the roots of agriculture that I am drawn to coffee. With it, I am building cross-border relationships through this common ecosystem using what I have gained throughout my life. This opportunity is my gift from the universe, from which I am ever learning and ever growing. And, even at its tumultuous and unpredictable times, I compassionately accept and look forward to sharing its beauty.

SEcoffee
You can experience Southeastern Roastery here in DC!

If you are in the DC area, you can explore Southeastern Roastery locally crafted coffees at Songbyrd Record Cafe in Adam’s Morgan, Duality Espresso and Whiskey Bar at 1301 U St. NW, and Uptown Arthouse in Cleveland Park. Follow the roastery on Instagram – @southeasternroastery – for cuppings, tastings, and future happenings throughout DC, MD, and VA. Most of all, cup collectively and share lovingly!

Written by Candy Schibli, Head Roaster, Southeastern Roastery

 

Advertisements

Meet the Café on Wheels

Today’s post is by guest writer Susannah Winters of Wheelys Cafe DC. For those who are unfamiliar with Wheelys, allow Susannah to share her story. She and her husband are the embodiment of the Walt Disney quote “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”

53879

Before my husband and I met each other we both separately had dreams of owning a cafe. We wanted it to be a community hub with open mic nights and local art featured on the walls. We loved coffee and loved the idea. What we didn’t love was the idea of having a brick and mortar. Something about it felt like too much and wasn’t for us. Maybe because we both like the freedom to pick up and move on a whim.

Years later, after my husband had been in real estate for years and I worked for Lululemon for almost a decade, we decided it was time to do something different. I was on maternity leave when my husband approached me with the idea of buying a coffee cart bicycle…specifically, a Wheelys Cafe franchise. We have biked together since we met, whether it was beach cruiser pub crawls in San Diego (where we lived) or training for a ½ ironmans…so he sold me on the idea pretty easy. We packed up our toddler and two dogs, sold our house, I got a job transfer, and we made the move from San Diego to DC.

We chose DC because we wanted a densely populated area that loved coffee ✓ and bikes ✓. And boy does DC love their coffee and bikes!

Our mission is to inspire more people to ride bikes while serving the best cup of coffee possible off of a bike. We are committed to supporting local small businesses and creating an engaging and thoughtful experience for our customers.

Being pedal and solar powered makes us one of the most eco friendly cafes in the world. As we expand, our goal is to stay as eco friendly as possible by restocking our cafes by cargo bicycle (yuba El Mundo V5).

We became operational about 6 weeks ago and we’ve found quality partners since our launch. We’ve fallen in love with both Zeke’s Coffee Roasters and Swings Coffee and serve both from our bike. We hand pour every cup which is infused with love, because we believe it makes a difference. We also serve District Doughnuts, our newest partner.

Since our move to DC we’ve fallen hard for DC’s spacious bike lanes and plethora of coffee roasters and micro roasters. The coffee scene here easily rivals San Diego (although the craft beer scene needs work ← our other love).

We’ve been serving on the corner of 9th St.  North and North Stuart Street in Arlington (in front of Dunkin Donuts), and we will be moving to another Arlington location in a few weeks. It’s a mini victory for us when we convert a Dunkin Donut’s customer to a fan of locally roasted organic coffee. You can always find our location on our insta @wheelyscafedc.

We also do weddings and events!

We are looking for permanent spots in DC proper. The beauty of being on a bike is we can fit most places! If you or someone you know wants a pedal powered cafe to serve up some deliciousness, shoot us a note on Instagram.

Huge thank you to Lauren for inviting me to write a guest blog on District of Coffee! I’m thrilled for the opportunity to share about Wheelys Cafe DC!

Written by Susannah Winters, Owner & Chief Culture Officer of Wheelys Cafe DC

Blue Bottle Opens First DC Store

West Coast favorite Blue Bottle Coffee has slowly made its way over to the East Coast, first settling in NYC before embarking on our nation’s capital. DC’s first Blue Bottle location is set to open in Georgetown this Sunday, July 9th. Off the beaten path, this hip new shop is down Potomac, a little beside and behind Dean & DeLuca. Take a look at some pictures from their Friends and Family preview.

This Louisiana girl definitely recommends the New Orleans iced coffee! It’s cold-brewed with roasted chicory and sweetened with organic cane sugar, and I couldn’t drink mine fast enough!

Two more locations are set to open in DC over the next year, Union Market being the next. Blue Bottle also offers coffee subscriptions for those of you who find it just too difficult to make it down to Georgetown right now.

Are you excited to have Blue Bottle in DC? Sound off in the comments!

Keep caffeinated,

Lauren

Three New Cafes in the DMV

June was a very good month to us. That’s because three new cafes have hit the DMV!

In DC we have the Crimson Diner in the newly opened Pod Hotel. Right beneath the Chinatown archway, this hip new spot serves Blanchard’s Coffee exclusively (you might be familiar with them already thanks to Pleasant Pops, Glen’s Garden Market, and Mason Dixie Biscuit Co.). Grab a pour-over and settle in, admiring the beautiful open space and elegant Modbar equipment, or situate yourself in the window for prime people watching.

Long-awaited Takoma Bev. Co. hit the scene in Maryland just a few weeks ago, offering a full cafe menu and a range of beverages from hand-crafted coffee to wine, beer, and cocktails. The coffee side of the business, which serves Counter Culture Coffee, is directed by co-owner Seth Cook who once served as the Director of Coffee for NoVa favorite Northside Social. There is already talk of expanding the space once their neighbor PollySue’s Vintage Shop relocates!

In Virginia, Portside Coffee and Bakery added a new option for coffee-lovers in Leesburg. Serving Cervantes Coffee and pastries imported from all over the world, Portside “is reminiscent of past coffee culture when coffee was sipped, thoughts were formed, and new friends were met.” They also host “Cars & Coffee” every Sunday from 9-11am; stop by for 10% off your entire purchase!

IMG_9205
Kenyan pour-over at the Crimson Diner in Chinatown.

So far I have one of these shops down, two to go! Have you visited any of them yet? Please share your experiences!

Keep caffeinated,

Lauren