The announcement that the Lake Anne Coffee House is changing hands has everyone a-buzz with excitement! Finally, Reston will have a bonafide independent coffee house. What you might not know is that the improvement to the actual coffee will be MONUMENTAL. Future owners Eve and Rick Thompson have chosen Monument Coffee — the Manassas-based small-batch roasters — as their supplier of high-quality beans.
We caught up with Ryan and Alycia Otte, owners of Monument Coffee Roasters, to find out about their roasting process, bean selection, and passion for the almighty cup o’ joe.
MR: What piqued your interest in coffee and where did you learn the ins and outs of roasting the perfect bean?
Alycia’s father owned a couple of coffee shops and a roastery in a small town of Oregon and she worked for him throughout high school and periodically during college. She also worked for another coffee shop during college to gain more experience in the industry. She had continued to help with the marketing after college and managed one of his coffee shops for a few years. Even after moving out of Oregon to pursue a career training and showing horses, she was involved in the business management and advertising and would work in the coffee shop whenever she was visiting.
Ryan grew up in the same town and was a very regular customer at the coffee shop. He always spoke with Alycia’s father about coffee and roasting even after joining the Coast Guard and moving around the U.S. His passion for coffee was fueled even further after doing some extensive travelling around the world with the Coast Guard. It gave him a chance to learn about the many different cultures and traditions based around coffee.
Since getting married in 2008, we had talked about opening a roasting company. The opportunity presented itself when we moved to Manassas.
There are only a handful of small batch roasters in the Northern Virginia/DC area and with the growing craft industries, there was definitely a void to fill.
Ryan had been roasting on a small home roaster and would roast with Alycia’s dad every time we visited Oregon. With the encouragement from some of the owners of the new micro-breweries in Manassas, and several of their customers, we decided to take the leap.
MR: What are the different roasts you carry?
We carry a large variety of single-origin coffees sourced from around the world. Our roast profiles are generally from City (light) to Vienna (medium, bordering on dark roast) We roast each type of coffee variety to showcase the best flavors of that particular bean.
MR: Where do you source your beans and do you have relationships with the growers?
We use a small broker based out of Fairfax. They work with farmers of micro-lots, estates, and small co-ops. We are currently talking with brokers that work even more directly with farmers and are hoping to make some trips in the next year to visit some of the farms in other countries. Our goal is to source as many coffees as possible through direct trade for the greatest benefit to the farmers.
MR:. What brewing method(s) do you prefer? Any tips on brewing the perfect cup?
We generally brew our morning cup of coffee with a French press. (Although this summer we are obsessed with our cold brewed coffee.) Both of us like the French press method because it allows the coffee grounds to soak in the water and not filter out any of the oils or flavors that we enjoy. When brewing just one cup, we will do a single cup pour over. We have a page on our website with general guidelines for achieving the perfect cup. What we have found most affects the flavor of your cup, aside from the type of bean, is the grind and the proportion of coffee to water to ensure you’re are achieving the correct extraction for a delicious brew.
MR: Does Monument Roasters have a coffee club?
We have an online coffee club with twice monthly delivery. We are planning to begin a farmers market club in the near future.
Thanks to Alycia and Ryan for taking the time to answer our questions! We can’t wait to sip on a cappuccino in the new Lake Anne Coffee House this Fall.
Monument is also a new addition to the Lake Anne Farmers Market, so be sure to stop by on Saturday mornings to sample their freshly brewed coffees.
The Excellent Coffee Hiding at Pitango Gelato