Door County Coffee & Tea Co., the largest artisan coffee roaster and distributor in the county, just celebrated 25 years in business with new special edition coffee flavors and an Anniversary Sale this past weekend. Opened in 1993 by Vicki and Doug Wilson, what started as a modest café in Forestville has grown to become a bustling Door County hot spot with distribution across the country. Employing more than 50 staff members and roasting thousands of pounds of coffee per day, the family business has grown to become a thriving local company and household name throughout the Midwest.
The storefront is located on Highway 42 north of Sturgeon Bay and just south of Egg Harbor in the unincorporated community of Carlsville. Seven days a week visitors and locals alike stop by to pick up their favorite flavored coffee to brew at home or get their morning caffeine fix from the drive-thru window. The space, totaling more than 30,000 square feet, includes an in-house roasting operation and distribution warehouse visible to guests through a large viewing window.
From the parking lot, patrons walk up a stone path and through the front doors to find a quaint café, restaurant and gift shop warmly lit with lots of wood accents and cozy spaces to enjoy a breakfast or cup of joe. The menu features a “quiche of the day,” Belgian waffles, a breakfast burrito, and various breakfast bakes ranging from sweet to savory. A bakery case also displays a delectable variety of baked goods including turnovers, seasonal cupcakes, scones and pecan rolls. Full-size pies and Kringles, the quintessential Danish pastry, are also offered.
As for the coffee, the family-owned and operated company only uses Specialty Class 1 Arabica coffee beans — which are the top two percent of what is grown in the world — and their team of roasters use a small-batch roasting process to ensure beans are evenly heated and never burnt, leading to a consistently high-quality product. You can find favorite and seasonal Door County Coffee flavors in grocery stores across the Midwest and through select distributors across the country. And if you don’t want to venture out, the website (doorcountycoffee.com) has an easy-to-use online store where you can find the full selection of coffee flavors.
The wall of coffee in the gift shop provides some perspective of the many varieties of coffee available, numbering more than a hundred. Currently in the spotlight are the fall flavors: Pumpkin Spice, Door County Maple, Cranberry Orange Muffin, Caramel Apple, Wisconsin Harvest Blend, Autumn Spice and White Chocolate Cinnamon Dolce. You can spot the flavors by the packaging which uses an array of of colorful fall foliage to speak to the spirit of the season.
Also highlighted are the special flavors created for the 25th anniversary celebration. The first is a 25th Anniversary Silver Reserve: a light, smooth roast using beans from three single-sources on different continents: Colombian beans from South America, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe beans from Africa and Java beans from the Indonesian island of Java in Southeast Asia. The blend is a balanced mixture of light and medium-bodied beans that creates a uniquely drinkable roast that celebrates the company’s success.
Next is a trio of barrel-aged bourbon flavors: Bourbon Barrel Pound Cake, Bourbon Vanilla Ice Cream and Bourbon Pecan Pie. I sampled a cup of the Bourbon Pecan Pie and could easily pick out the oaky flavor of the barrel-aged smoky bourbon alongside a hint of nutty flavor from the pecan and a bit of brown sugar. If you’re a fan of this classic Kentucky spirit, you’ll want to stock up on this limited edition of beans.
Although the coffee blends are the main attraction, the espresso menu and tea selection are not to be overlooked. Or if you prefer cold brew, try the nitro coffee on tap: a cold brewed coffee charged with nitrogen in order to give each glass of brew a rich and creamy head, similar to what you would see on a draft beer like Guinness. Order a cold frothy glass or cozy up to a steaming mug of java and see the selection for yourself — they are open seven days a week, year round except Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.