La Marzocco Cafe News – October: Thank-you Counter Culture and Intelligentsia Preview

It’s been an incredible summer at the La Marzocco Café, and our friends at Counter Culture Coffee helped send summer off in the best way. They began by showing our guests Southern hospitality with a launch party full of North Carolina BBQ, beer and all the sides. The La Marzocco crew had a great time mingling with guests as well as the good people of Counter Culture.

ccc launch party

Brian Ludviksen (left), with La Marzocco USA President Joe Monaghan and Counter Culture President Brett Smith (right).

From Q&A’s to their “Tastings at 10” each week, Counter Culture brought the classroom to the cafe and both our staff and guests benefited by being able to taste coffees and hear what makes each of them special. Their weekly “Champ’s Corner” has been an incredible opportunity for us to learn about the processing, varieties, and flavors of coffee, taught by some of specialty coffee’s biggest Champs. We’d like to extend a huge thank-you to everyone at Counter Culture who worked so hard to make this residency a success!


Next up, we have the privilege of hosting Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea, a company La Marzocco has been working with since they began more than 20 years ago, as our next Roaster in Residence! For the month of October, guests will be able to taste Intelligentsia’s coffees and teas and experience their impeccable service.

intelligentsia coffee bags

Photo Credit: Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea

Intelligentsia began in 1995 as an in-store coffee roaster-retailer in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, operating with just a 12-kilogram roaster. Over the past 21 years they have grown from their original shop to now having 10 unique coffeebars in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City, three roasting works with over 600 wholesale accounts, and training labs in New York and Atlanta.

intelligentsia coffee cup

Photo Credit: Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea

Direct Trade has become somewhat of a specialty coffee industry standard, and Intelligentsia was truly a pioneer of this movement. Cumulatively, their buyers spend 365+ days a year working alongside farmers in origin countries. Many of the coffees Intelligentsia procures are exclusive to Intelligentsia. Intelligentsia pays its coffee-producing partners higher prices than prices regulated by Fair Trade standards, with the goal of improving farmers’ lives; improving infrastructure and quality-of-life in coffee-producing communities; and improving growing and production practices to yield higher-quality coffee. All of this work and investment is reflected in every cup enjoyed by the consumer.

intelligentsia coffee and espresso

Photo Credit: Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea

While at the La Marzocco Cafe, Intelligentsia will be hosting a party celebrating their 21st birthday. Details will follow, but we hear there are plans for a cocktail competition, pizza and beer! Each week a special guest from Intelligentsia will be teaching classes on their practices, and on coffee and tea. The menu will include an extensive tea program from Intelligentsia’s team company, Kilogram Tea. Make sure to follow along on the cafe’s Instagram and Twitter as we’ll be posting more information about these events throughout Intelligentsia’s residency.

Again, we want to thank Counter Culture for a super month and for all the effort that went into making their residency a great one. To close their residency, current US Barista Champion and Counter Culture mainstay, Lem Butler will be serving his specialty drink in the Champ’s Corner. The full Counter Culture menu will be available through September 26th.

Photo Menu: Counter Culture Coffee

A week ago we welcomed Counter Culture Coffee, headquartered in Durham, NC to the La Marzocco Cafe with a launch party inspired by their home state. La Marzocco and Counter Culture have been long-time partners and we couldn’t be happier to host them in our space. The beautiful blue 2-Group La Marzocco Linea PB that we’ll be using at the cafe this month will eventually find a permanent home when Counter Culture opens their Seattle Training Center later this year. Counter Culture has an exciting month planned, read on for the highlights:


In addition to their incredible lineup of coffees, Counter Culture’s menu includes Rishi Teas, affogatos made with Salt and Straw ice cream, and three North Carolina inspired pastries from The London Plane: Toasted Pecan and Bourbon Shortbread, Pimento Cheese Pies and Buttermilk Cornbread with a kick of cayenne and pepper.


Counter Culture’s Conception Huista is a coffee that comes from the high mountains of Western Guatemala and is one of the most highly-anticipated coffees from Central America that they offer. The coffee has notes of fruit and nougat that finishes with a syrupy mouthfeel and is served mainly as espresso or with milk drinks, but is also great as a made-to-order drip. “The Warm Up” which is a trio of sparkling water, espresso, and a cappuccino, is a perfect way to sample this coffee.


Idido is the main coffee on Counter Culture’s menu for drip and iced drinks. Counter Culture has been purchasing this coffee from the Idido Cooperative, located near the town of Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia, and has been working with farmers there to prepare special selections for a decade. This coffee happens to be a fan favorite, and sports its own Instagram following! Try it as drip, or in Counter Culture’s flash-brewed iced coffee.


Taza Chocolate is a company based in Somerville, MA that produces unrefined, stone-ground chocolate and is the partner of choice for Counter Culture’s mocha. Staff at the La Marzocco Cafe will be making a chocolate syrup in-house using this distinct and bittersweet chocolate.


During their Residence, Counter Culture will have a special menu called “Champs Corner.” The featured drink each week will be inspired by the winner of one of six international coffee competitions – each with ties to, or employees of Counter Culture. For the first week of their Residence, Seattle’s own Laila Ghambari of Cherry Street Coffee, and USBC 2014 Champ was here to serve up her winning signature drink “The Cherry on Top.”


Counter Culture’s award-winning team members take over from Laila. Next up we have Erin McCarthy, 2013 World Brewers Cup Champ serving his Finca El Puente or Finca Nuguo Flights. Then, guests will get to sample “The Champagne of Coffee,” USBC 2013 Champ Katie Carguilo’s signature drink. Finally, the current USBC Champ, Lem Butler will be here serving his Southernplayalysticcadillac Coffee! This is an exceptional opportunity to taste coffees grown and prepared by some of the world’s best. These drinks will be prepared slowly on our back bar and are meant to be a very special coffee experience. If you see a trophy on the front counter, the beverage will prepared by that week’s Champ! All proceeds from the Champs Corner drinks will benefit KEXP.

We can’t wait to see you this month at the La Marzocco Cafe! For more specific information about each Champ’s drink and to see Counter Culture’s full menu please follow this link.

La Marzocco Cafe News – September: A thank you Campos, and Counter Culture Preview

For the month of August our staff and guests to the La Marzocco Cafe have been delighted with the coffees and menu items offered by Campos Coffee of Sydney, Australia. As our fourth Roaster in Residence in our monthly changing line-up, we want to say thanks to the entire Campos team for a successful and seamless month. Campos provided Seattleites, and those who traveled from beyond, a true representation of the Australian coffee scene with their high-quality coffees, toast, and signature affogato.


Looking ahead to September, we are pleased to welcome Counter Culture Coffee as our next Roaster in Residence! Headquartered in Durham, NC, Counter Culture focuses on sourcing quality coffee, roasting, sustainability and education. Counter Culture does not operate their own cafes, but offer exemplary coffee education and support to their wholesale partners and to the public by operating training centers that span 11 cities across the country.


Counter Culture’s residency at the La Marzocco Cafe is shaping up to be filled with fun events, education, and special guests. They will be hosting a launch party on Wednesday, August 31st where they will be introducing themselves and sharing free coffee with the Seattle community.  As an extension of what they do in their training centers, representatives from Counter Culture will be hosting Friday Tastings each week at 10 am. One of their featured coffees, Idido, comes from a small village in Ethiopia where Counter Culture has been purchasing and forming relationships for a decade. Special guests will arrive throughout the month including USBC Champions Lem Butler (2016), Laila Willbur (2014), Katie Carguilo (2012) and the 2013 World Brewers Cup Champion Erin McCarthy. Each will be serving the signature drink/brew method that won them their title.


For the past 20+ years, Counter Culture has strived to build their business with a continued focus on sustainability. In their 2015 Transparency Report, Counter Culture Founder and President, Brett Smith states, “As part of our efforts to build a business through the lens of sustainability we first made it a part of our vision statement. By clearly stating, “Counter Culture is committed to real social, environmental and fiscal sustainability” we made it real. From the supply chain, to the building materials used in our facilities, to employee benefits, we have tried to filter our decisions through the sustainability lens.”

By sharing their Transparency Report, Counter Culture holds itself accountable to push for environmental, fiscal and social improvements. In the report, they share details such as their annual carbon offset, Free On Board pricing, dollars donated to employees to support their own sustainability projects, and set goals for future years–a degree of transparency that is unique in the coffee industry. To read more about it, go to the sustainability section on their website.


Counter Culture takes over the cafe beginning Tuesday, August 30th. Make sure to follow us on Instagram and Twitter for more details as they emerge!

Thanks again to Campos Coffee for the huge effort that was put into making their residency a success. We’ll be serving their menu through Monday, August 29th.