Within the last decade in Santa Cruz County, the star of third-wave coffee seems to have risen simultaneously with that of craft beer.
Every year has seen at least one much-anticipated opening of a new brewer of beans or malt, and it’s not uncommon for these businesses to become hubs and even develop their own unique culture. Now a visit to any given part of town can be an opportunity to fill one’s cup with that neighborhood’s specific brand of handcrafted brew.
While I consider myself a true cross-county imbiber of suds and jo, there are brands that I return to again and again. Lately, my mornings have started with the whir of my grinder pulverizing the whole-bean Sumatra dark roast coffee from the Westside’s Alta Organic Coffee and Tea. This low-acid coffee is smooth and rich with the flavor of dark chocolate, a delicious and luxurious way to start the day.
Their beans are widely available in local grocery stores, and offered by the cup throughout the county (Steamer Lane Supply on West Cliff Drive might be their most scenic purveyor), but I try to stop by their warehouse to pick up my bag o’ beans for that “shop local” feeling. Inside, they have a small, minimalist coffee counter where they can brew you your favorite cup or sample their other roasts. Alta Organic Coffee and Tea is open during the week and during the Westside Farmers Market on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. altaorganiccoffee.com.
On the other side of the county, Fruition Brewing is set to open a brewery and beer garden in East Lake Village in Watsonville in early 2019. A long held dream of partners David Purgason and Tallula Preston, both allums of the local craft beer industry, Fruition Brewing will offer a rotating variety of lagers, pale ales, saisons and dark beers. The couple has launched an Indiegogo campaign to finish furnishing the brewery with a goal of raising $40,000 by selling generous investment perks through Dec. 19.
Having had the opportunity to try many of Purgason and Preston’s homebrews over the last few years, I could not be more excited for this hardworking duo to open their brewery, and look forward to enjoying many more of their well-crafted beers. indiegogo.com.