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When it comes to coffee, Sacramento has no shortage of options. Often the deciding factor in choosing a coffee joint comes down to what part of Sacramento you live in or where on the grid you happen to be at the time. Well for your morning coffee fix, whether you’re in the heart of Midtown or out in the Suburbs, I can guarantee you nothing is closer to you than Seasons Coffee, which is just as far away as your kitchen.
We visited the warehouse/office where Seasons coffee is roasted, ground, packed, and shipped out and chatted with founders Greg Cotta and Ben Lance to find out more about their process. Seasons is a new, exclusively delivery based service coffee company stationed in downtown Sacramento and distributing all over the city as well as throughout the U.S., including territories. One new client even lives in Puerto Rico. Greg tells me, “Think of it as kind of like ‘wine of the month club’ but with your morning coffee. Basically you can sign up for every week, every other week, or once a month.” As we explore the small space, the aroma of freshly ground coffee beans permeates the air with its smoky sweet mixture of earthy, fruity, and chocolate-like scents. At the center of the warehouse is a beautifully bright and shiny metallic coffee roaster. A small test roaster is nearby complemented by a pile of fresh, green coffee beans laying next to it.
“Green coffee has a really long shelf life,” Greg says. “We can roast it and then give it to you, really as fresh as possible. Our system is…to roast your coffee once you order it. (A storefront) isn’t out of the question (but) our focus is coffee.” Currently, Seasons is the only coffee company in Sacramento whose sole focus is delivery. The company takes its name based on a model of seasonally rotating coffee offerings, something that allows consumers to sample a wide variety of coffee flavors and to help create a more refined palate for a deeper appreciation.
As I sample some of the robustly flavorful cold brew (available in growlers), Ben packs the newly roasted order, taking care and paying special attention to each bag as he fills, seals, and stamps them for shipping. It’s clear, watching him work and hearing the way he talks about it, that coffee is something he’s intensely passionate about.
“We’re trying to offer something a little different that our specialty industry has sort of moved away from over the last decade. Specialty coffee moved away from blends, mostly because of the traceability issue. We just brought it back around. We’ll tell you where all of our coffee comes from, like, that’s not a big secret, but we just like doing blends just like you would blend a wine or whiskey. It’s all the same thing. We’re taking these awesome coffees and creating something that’s different and unique that you couldn’t get from a single origin, and people dig that. And we get to come up with cool blend names!”
Seasons has five blends available, including a Raos Decaf, which Ben emphasizes actually can take more attention to detail in concocting than it’s caffeinated counterparts. Decaf drinkers aren’t looking for a boost. They’re concerned purely with flavor and, therefore, can often be even more discerning than other coffee aficionados. Ben says of the other blends, “Going from lightest to darkest, Piccolo is our lightest. Joyride is the next one, then Golden State…then Slate, our sort of ‘dark roast’.” In regards to Slate, he adds, “We can’t say that it’s organic because we aren’t an organic roaster, but both coffees used in it are organic.”
So how does Seasons select coffee? “It really is just dependent on the quality of how it tastes. One of our things at the outset was not (focusing on) doing direct relationships with farms. The one drawback with (direct relationships) is that there is a lot of coffee out there that just goes bad. It’s sitting in an importer’s warehouse down in Oakland and people are saying ‘well yeah, that Aricha’s good but I could go to Ethiopia and buy this guys three plants and like use that as a bigger marketing tool.’ So our focus is that there’s a lot of good coffee (out) there and it’s up to us to find it and share it. In flavors, I’m looking for flavors that are really clean. The Aricha is an example of the fruity blueberry Ethiopian coffee.” The single origin coffees include Ethiopia Konga which is described on the site as having a clean flavor tinged with notes of berries and chocolate, (as well as), the Ethiopia Aricha which earned a 94 rating from Coffee Review and is lauded as “elegant” with blueberry and “tea-like” qualities. The Ethiopia Aricha also has the distinction of being one of Ben’s personal favorites, closely followed by the Colombia El Mango which holds a 93 rating and is qualified as “comforting” with Sweet Cream and Toffee attributes. Lastly before the single origin decaf, is the Sumatra Takengon, a heavy coffee with chocolate and tobacco notes.
All in all, Seasons is off to a great start, and I can’t think of a more creative way for a coffee company to start up in Sacramento right now. I’m looking forward to brewing some of my own! Find out more, get a free 2oz sample, and get started ordering Seasons coffee here.Have something to add? Tell us in the comments.
Photos | Stacy Antonopoulos
Stay connected with all things Sacramento and beyond.