Cowboy coffee. It means different things to different people. For many, it’s the sludge you make while camping over an open fire (often using a sock, worn or otherwise). But for San Diegans, cowboy coffee is coming to embody something entirely different. That’s where Manzanita Roasting Company comes in. Located on a winery, Manzanita is bring cowboy-chic to the coffee shop.
The new roastery is the work of husband and wife duo Weston and Samantha Nawrocki. Both coming from culinary backgrounds—Weston a chef and sommelier and Samantha in local wine—the two have shifted their focus to coffee. The couple has been roasting as Manzanita for three years now, but it wasn’t until earlier this month that they opened their flagship roastery/cafe. So grab your boots and get to scootin’. We’re headed to San Diego to check out the new Manzanita Roasting Company.
As told to Sprudge by Samantha Nawrocki.
For those who aren’t familiar, will you tell us about your company?
Well, we’re a husband and wife roasting team in San Diego, roasting for almost three years and sourcing the best microlots we can from small farmers who love what they do. Weston was a WSET 3 Sommelier and classically trained Chef from Vancouver, Samantha a San Diego native wine and marketing chick. We’re growing our wholesale, picking up national awards, and just landed on Thrillist’s top 21 USA roasters list. We’re passionate about people, coffee, keeping it green and environmentally friendly, and roasting sweet, happy beans. Now we’re opening our flagship coffee house, on our family’s winery where our roaster is. That’s about it.
Can you tell us a bit about the new space?
It’s a mixture of hipster coffee meets cowboy western movie, in a really green and airy space, adjacent to the roaster. We wanted to create a space that people are comfortable in, that’s modern and serious about the coffee but lighthearted, a bit funny, and welcoming to anyone and everyone who comes in. Definitely not white walls and succulents. I think we’ve done what we set out for. The space is happy, lighthearted, a bit edgy, and well, there’s the whole cowboy bit. But when you’re located on a 128-year-old California winery, you need to embrace what’s around you also and not be too pretentious and stuffy.
What’s your approach to coffee?
We like to listen to the coffee. Weston roasts like he’s tasting wine. You need to let the terroir speak for itself and adjust the roast accordingly. Sweet, balanced beans with some complexity from the first sip to the last is what we are always aiming for and that also shows respect to the grower as well as the barista, who are so important in the equation, too. We can source great coffees from some pretty awesome farmers but we have to do them justice in our roasting AND then roast to where baristas are excited about the coffee too. They finish the process and hand you something truly delightful that they can stand behind too. This is what we love. Everyone is part of this.
Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?
We have a groovy La Marzocco Linea, a Mahlkönig EK43 for the pour-over bar, a Nuova Simonelli Mythos One for the espresso bar, a Baratza Sette 270 for our decaf espresso, a Wilbur Curtis Twin one gallon brewer, numerous cocktail shakers for our cold brew cocktail bar, and a broken janky oven. There’s more I’m sure.
What’s your hopeful target opening date/month?
Week of June 1st, 2018!
Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you’d like to mention?
Craftspeople are our awesome winery maintenance staff, Weston, my brother Ross Rizzo (also talented winemaker), Najila the potter, who is making our hand-thrown limited edition mugs for our merch wall, Darlene, who is making our repurposed totes for the merch wall, Dave, Joh, and numerous unpaid laborers and friends who work for wine and coffee.
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