Caffé Vita Coffee Roasting Company

Coordinates: 47°36′50″N 122°19′08″W / 47.614004°N 122.31902°W / 47.614004; -122.31902
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Caffè Vita Coffee Roasting
HeadquartersSeattle, Washington, U.S.
Key people
Deming Maclise
ProductsCoffee, tea
Number of employees

Caffè Vita Coffee Roasting Company, commonly known as Caffè Vita, is an American coffee roasting company based in Seattle, Washington. Part of the third wave of coffee movement, it has been named one of 10 places offering "the best coffee in America."[1][2][3]

Caffè Vita was founded in Seattle's Queen Anne neighborhood in 1995 by Mike McConnell. McConnell was an early proponent of developing direct relationships with coffee farmers and bypassing the fair trade of coffee,[3] thus pioneering the Farm Direct movement.

On January 1, 2020, local restaurateur Deming Maclise took over ownership at Caffe Vita.[4]


Caffè Vita's location at 1005 East Pike Street in Seattle houses their flagship cafe, roastery, and company offices. The company operates seven other cafes around the city; there is another roastery in Phoenix, Arizona.[5] In March 2012 Caffè Vita opened a cafe in the Lower East Side of Manhattan,[6]. The company expanded its New York presence in 2015 with the opening of a roastery and cafe in Bushwick, Brooklyn.[7] There are a total of 10 locations nationwide; Caffè Vita also supplies coffee to other cafes, restaurants, and hotels.[8]

Community involvement[edit]

Training and opportunity programs[edit]

In 2009, Caffè Vita partnered with Portland's p:ear, a homeless youth mentoring program, to create the p:ear Barista School. Caffè Vita provides equipment, coffee beans, milk, and training that allow the school to take homeless youth through an 8-week program that give them the necessary skills and experience to get a job as a barista.[9]

Caffè Vita currently supports FareStart's youth barista training program, which trains homeless youth and provides barista jobs at their coffee stands in T-Mobile Field. They also sponsor FareStart's annual Guest Chef Night and Volunteer Server Night, which annually bring together Seattle chefs and winemakers to raise money for FareStart.

Fundraising and sponsorships[edit]

Caffe Vita sponsors several local events, including Timber Music Fest,[10] by Artist Home,[11][12]Thing Festival[13] and Capitol Hill Block Party.

In 2009, Caffè Vita underwrote and organized "GIVE Seattle": a 36-track compilation record, featuring artists such as Ben Gibbard and Fleet Foxes to benefit four local food banks and arts organizations.[14]

Every year, Caffè Vita hosts a holiday fundraising drive for organizations like Community Passageways and Trans Lifeline in all Caffe Vita cafes, with donations matched dollar for dollar.

Under leadership of new owner Deming Maclise, Caffe Vita started a line of Coffees for a Cause, donating $2 from every bag sold to non-profits like Seattle Foundation, Lambert House, FareStart, and more.

Business Partnerships[edit]

Caffè Vita partners with Easy Street Records, after whom it named its Easy Street Indo 30 coffee blend. The store's founder, Matt Vaughan, was Caffè Vita's first wholesale customer in 1995.[15]

In 2017, all Washington State Ferries began serving Caffè Vita coffee,[16] and in 2019 the company began barrel-aging its coffee in partnership with Batch 206 Distillery.[17] Three barrel-aged coffees have been released to date - with bourbon, rum, and gin.


Caffe Vita is a pioneer of the Farm Direct movement, meticulously sourcing coffee while developing long-term relationships with growers in more than 11 countries.[18] The chain has served numerous Organic, Farm Direct, and Rainforest Alliance Certified coffees.[19]

In 2009, Caffè Vita began collaborating with Woodland Park Zoo's Tree Kangaroo Project to develop the first-ever coffee from Papua New Guinea's Yopno Uruwa Som region made commercially available in the U.S., purchased directly from growers.[20] The coffee was sold at all Seattle Caffe Vita locations and at Woodland Park Zoo ZooStores. A Zoo Special Reserve coffee was also offered, with a dollar from each purchased bag being donated to the Woodland Park Zoo.[21]

Change in Ownership[edit]

Local restaurateur Deming Maclise — who had a minority stake in the company before — assumed control of the Caffé Vita company on January 1, 2020. Addressing a previous controversy over the McConnells' position on giving unsold food to the homeless, he emphasized that the company should "have a general welcoming policy to everyone." Maclise also indicated that the deal was unrelated to the controversy, having been in negotiation for about a year and a half. He suggested that the Caffé might change its food menus over time and seek more local businesses collaborations, both of which might involve his other restaurant properties.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Thelin, Mike (May 2010). "Coffee Confidential". Portland Monthly. Retrieved 2010-09-24.
  2. ^ Strand, Oliver (November 2009). "The Most Important Drink of Your Day". GQ. Retrieved 2010-09-24.
  3. ^ a b Allison, Melissa (July 11, 2008). "Seattle's Caffé Vita Coffee Roasting is expanding". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2010-09-23.
  4. ^ a b Guarente, Gabe (2020-01-14). "New Owner of Iconic Caffe Vita Says Shop Will Have 'Welcoming Policy to Everyone'". Eater Seattle. Retrieved 2022-02-01.
  5. ^ Yee, Natasha (6 June 2022). "Seattle's Caffe Vita Brings Coffee and Music to McDowell Road". Retrieved 20 March 2023.
  6. ^ Strand, Oliver (7 March 2012). "Caffé Vita, a Seattle Staple, Squeezes Into Manhattan". Retrieved 7 March 2012.
  7. ^ Brown, Nick (22 December 2014). "Seattle's Caffe Vita Planning New Roastery and Cafe in Bushwick, Brooklyn". Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  8. ^ Fitzpatrick, Tamra (March 26, 1999). "Finding Niche Brews Big-Time Success For Small Coffee Roaster". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2010-09-23.
  9. ^ Bingham, Larry (November 28, 2009). "In coffee-swilling Oregon, barista training helps at-risk young people find jobs, hope". The Oregonian. Retrieved 2010-10-01.
  10. ^ Timber Music Fest
  11. ^ Artist Home
  12. ^ "Food & Beverage". Timber! Music Festival. Retrieved 2019-11-13.
  13. ^ "THING 2023". THING 2023. Retrieved 2023-03-20.
  14. ^ Segal, Dave (2009-12-03). "GIVE Till It Hertz: Caffe Vita Brews a Seattle Charity Comp Worth a Hill of Beans". The Stranger. Retrieved 2022-07-24.
  15. ^ "Easy Street Indo 30". Caffe Vita Coffee Roasting Co. Retrieved 2019-11-13.
  16. ^ "Washington's Ferry Fleet Got an Impressive Food and Drink Overhaul". Seattle Met. Retrieved 2019-11-13.
  17. ^ Batch 206 Distillery
  18. ^ "Learn". Caffe Vita Coffee Roasting Co. Retrieved 2019-11-13.
  19. ^ "Caffé Vita". Rainforest Alliance. August 3, 2015. Retrieved 2019-11-13.
  20. ^ Whitham, Rebecca (2012-02-21). "Drink up! Conservation coffee is here". Woodland Park Zoo Blog. Retrieved 2019-11-13.
  21. ^ "Organic Zoo Special Reserve". Caffè Vita Coffee Roasting Co. Retrieved 2019-11-13.

External links[edit]

47°36′50″N 122°19′08″W / 47.614004°N 122.31902°W / 47.614004; -122.31902