Kyle Rosa owns Breakers Coffee + Wine in Carmel Valley
Imported from other countries, roasted and distributed by large manufacturers, the coffee prepared in most cafes can often seem far from special.
At Breakers Coffee + Wine, the narrative of how coffee is grown is being rewritten.
Starting this summer, one of the newest additions to the Carmel Valley/Del Mar area will harvest its own coffee beans from a local farm – something unheard of in California.
In 2019, café owner Cardiff resident Kyle Rosa rented 5 acres of land in San Marcos, using it to plant over 2,000 coffee trees (often called shrubs depending on height) amidst a grove of avocado trees in the hills.
Day after day, the plants in his Bluetail Coffee Grove grew to provide six varieties of Arabica beans. In a few months, Rosa plans to welcome her first harvest, making her coffee, food and wine center one of the first to source, roast and sell her own beans locally.
Although the fruits of his labor won’t be expected for some time, it will be a remarkable moment given the farm’s unique location. Coffee is normally grown in subtropical or equatorial regions such as Colombia, where rainfall is abundant.
For a state where droughts are a recurring event, many would not consider California as an option for growing coffee. In fact, the last time the state experienced a multi-year water shortage was from 2012 to 2016, according to the California Department of Water Resources.
Nevertheless, Rosa continued her project by moving towards a regenerative agriculture approach with organic coffee trees certified by the California Certified Organic Farmers agency.
“It’s really that play with nature that we’re trying to figure out how to do,” Rosa said. “Being organic adds another layer where we have to use naturally found things instead of pumping out chemicals.”
As Rosa waits for his first harvest, he works with small artisan farms in Guatemala and Brazil that export green coffee beans. Since the store opened a few months ago, these beans have been roasted, brewed and served at Breakers Coffee + Wine. The aim is to replace these beans with locally grown ones by the end of this year.
Coffee grown locally or imported, the shop has always received a positive reception from locals and foreigners. Take Cheryl Gowie, a visitor from Canada, for example.
“We’ve traveled a lot and we don’t know of any cafe that has a farm next,” she said, taking a sip of her cappuccino. “It’s spectacular.”
Brittney Mitchell, a local who has visited the cafe a few times, also shared her fondness for the place.
“The look of the place really appealed to me,” she said. “Every time I come, I have a very good experience.”
Coffee Breakers + Wine is located in downtown Del Mar Highlands at 12843 El Camino Real, Suite 205.
Roxana Becerril is a local freelance writer.
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