Welcome and thank you for stopping by our website! If you haven't already clicked through the other pages and don't know what we are all about, Lookout Coffee Roasters is a family owned and operated specialty coffee company located in Leavenworth, WA. For our first blog post, we thought we would share the back story of how this all began with an interview with our roaster Jake Carvitto. Continue to check back as we'll be posting educational articles about coffee, when new roasts are available and any events and locations you can find us at. You can also follow our #coffeefueledadventures on instagram at @lookout_coffee.
When & how did the idea for Lookout begin?
It was early 2012 when Lookout Coffee roasting came around. I was in Seattle and thinking about Justin's (Jake's older brother) upcoming birthday the next month and what I should get him. Somehow I came up with the idea of roasting him a bag of El Salvador honey processed coffee. Seattle Coffee Gear sold these little home roasters that looked like toaster ovens with a mesh drum inside where the metal racks would be. I bought one and ordered a few pounds of coffee from Sweet Marias out of Oakland.
The roaster was pretty automated, you pushed different buttons for certain roast profiles, all based on the origin you were trying to roast. Everything else was set, the heat, airflow, time, etc. It took a few roasts to get anything resembling drinkable coffee. I was roasting way too light, not even getting into first crack, something I had only a vague idea of (which turned out to be wrong). By the end of March I had dialed in the El Salvador honey, hand carved out a stamp, and had made his coffee bag! I called this home roasting operation "Consigliere" after Robert Duvall's character in the Godfather who was the don's adviser.
This sparked Justin's interest in roasting, and within the next year we had bought a Quest M3 sample roaster, which allowed us more control over the roasting process.
That year a friend I teach with caught wind that I was home roasting, and it turned out she and her husband had formerly owned and operated a wholesale coffee roasting business up in the Bellingham area. They had to close down due to health related issues and they were looking to sell their roaster. After numerous family discussions we decided to buy it and start our own wholesale coffee business!
When and how did your love for third wave coffee begin?
My introduction to third wave coffee started when Jared (Jake's younger brother) brought a bag of Stumptown coffee to Leavenworth. It was so unbelievably sweet! I couldn't believe coffee could taste like that without adding milk or sugar. Although I was a heavy milk adder for a while, I eventually came around to the realization that if I want to have milk, I'll pour me a glass of milk. My love and obsession for third wave coffee came when Jared introduced me to Kuma Coffee. We would celebrate St. Mark's (as we call the owner) coffees coming out annually. Tasting these coffees for the first time has stuck with me through the years.
How did you settle on the name Lookout?
I was stuck on coming up with a name that had connections to not only our past, but had deep roots into the history of the northwest. Something that was symbolic and implied the wilderness. Lookouts were a way of life, a job, and a necessity.
What is your mission with the company?
My mission with the company is to change the coffee in my world (geographically speaking). I'd like to put out coffees that would be considered strangers in the Wenatchee Valley; give coffee an identity beyond "breakfast blend", "french roast" and "espresso roast".
What are the companies values?
What sets Lookout Coffee apart?
We are the only local company that rotates coffee offerings in as broad a spectrum as possible; single origins, blends, decaf, dark roast, light roast, specialty grade coffee, organic, fair trade, bird friendly. All while keeping true to our mission and values.
What has been the most rewarding thing about starting a company? What has been the most challenging?
Most rewarding- Being able to start a business with the people I love the most and doing something I have an uncontrollable passion for. I think about coffee and this company most hours of the day.
Most challenging-Being a salesman (being shot down), and fitting in time to roast, bag, and deliver while teaching and starting a family.
Check out a few photos from the very beginning! Just the business, our actual roastery was built from the ground up!
Lookout Coffee Roasters