October 4, 2017
Vermont Business Magazine
As Vermonters and visitors alike take to the roads to enjoy the fall colors, they’ll notice a new addition along the Route 100 drive between Waterbury and Stowe. It is the state-of-the-art, custom built 15,000 square foot big brilliant red barn with a shiny silver coffee silo, new home to Vermont Artisan Coffee & Tea, Company and its sister companies, Coffee Lab International and CLI’s School of Coffee. And they are open for business.
Founder Mané Alves, a renowned coffee taster, consultant, and coffee entrepreneur, has spent the last three years overseeing the design, construction, and every detail of the new facility.
“When our old leased location on Route 2 in Waterbury was flooded by Tropical Storm Irene in 2011, I started looking for property to buy. I found this great location just 3 ½ miles past Ben & Jerry’s factory and decided to go for it,” Alves said.
The new facility takes into consideration the synergies of the three coffee-centric businesses that Mané founded: a coffee-tasting laboratory and testing facility; an educational branch that teaches roasting classes, Q certification courses and barista classes; and Vermont Artisan Coffee & Tea, Co., a specialty coffee roastery and tea-packing company.
Mané worked closely with Joseph Architects of Waterbury, and Connor Contracting, Inc, of Berlin and St Albans to design and build the facility. The majority of the building houses the coffee roastery with six different types of coffee roasters and 30-foot tall interior silos that hold green beans shipped from coffee plantations all over the world to be roasted to order on site. Other spaces within the facility include a wet and dry coffee lab for cupping and testing, a tea room, and a dedicated classroom certified by the SCA (Specialty Coffee Association.) Energy efficiencies were taken into account throughout and it even has a 20-car solar carport in the parking lot built by Suncommon of Waterbury.
“Given the location of the new facility, I decided to add a café in to the mix. Even though I have lived in Vermont for the past 25 years, I am originally from Portugal and I wanted to create a sleek yet friendly European-style coffee bar,” Alves explained.
“So far the reaction to our new place has been tremendous,” commented Holly Alves, Mané’s wife and business manager. “The café is a totally new venture for us. Of course I was sweating it trying to run budgets and numbers and Mané’s feeling was: ‘if you build it; they will come.’ I guess he was right.” The new Vermont Artisan Coffee Bar is open seven days a week, Monday – Friday 7:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. The café serves made-to-order specialty coffee and tea drinks and locally produced fresh baked goods. A full array of whole bean coffees fresh from the roasters as well as hand-packed teas are also available for purchase.