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Wine, love, coffee

“Aha!” exclaimed the commodity coffee drinker

Manzanita Roasting Company opened within the rustic shopping village of the 125-year-old Bernardo Winery.
Manzanita Roasting Company opened within the rustic shopping village of the 125-year-old Bernardo Winery.
Place

Manzanita Roasting Company

13330 Paseo Del Verano, San Diego

Manzanita Roasting Company opened in December, cooking single-origin beans on a 15-kg Loring roaster in North County. The couple behind the coffee wholesaler is relatively new to the business. Weston and Samantha Nawrocki initially met over social media, bonding over a shared interest in wine.

While Samantha’s a local, Weston hails from Vancouver, British Columbia, and their long-distance relationship began with a wine-tasting rendezvous in Paso Robles. But as the courtship went on, they found themselves meeting in ballyhooed coffee destinations such as Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco. Eventuallly they decided to get married and bring their appreciation for artisan beans to Samantha’s home town.

Unlike most of the third-wave roasters around the county, they haven’t opened in a hip neighborhood. Far from it, actually. Samantha’s family has owned Bernardo Winery for three generations, so Manzanita opened among the vineyard’s collection of vintage and gourmet shops in the hills along the eastern edge of Rancho Bernardo.

While Samantha points out that more young adults from North Park and downtown have embraced the winery as a getaway from the city in recent times, the 125-year-old vineyard doesn’t typically serve the same coffee-literate clientele that might visit specialty shops such as Coffee & Tea Collective on El Cajon Boulevard or James Coffee in Little Italy.

Consequently, as Manzanita’s fresh beans have appeared in the winery’s onsite café, V’s Coffee Shoppe, the Nawrockis have seen many visitors take notice. The couple says some residents of a retirement community near the winery have really taken to the quality of Manzanita’s Brazil-origin decaf. Meanwhile, some other neighbors, accustomed to the chain shops and restaurants prevalent in the area, have been experiencing fresh-roasted, artisan coffee for the first time.

Samantha likens it to eating fresh bread. “Do you want to put your bread in the freezer for six months and then eat it?” she asks, “Or would you rather go to the bakery and get your bread fresh?”

Weston describes an aha! moment, when the commodity coffee drinker discovers that “Coffee quality is more important than just caffeine.” Once that happens, he says, it’s tough to go back. He recalls experiencing something similar as a kid, trying Lindt chocolate for the first time after growing up eating Mars candy bars — “And never being able to go back to Mars bars again.”

Weston, a certified sommelier with a restaurant background, has reveled in applying his palate to cupping and roasting. He says he worked three months exploring the ins and outs of his new roaster before Manzanita opened, refining his approach to profiling beans. “It’s all about taste,” he says, “and with a wine and food background, I thought — well, I’m trained in taste, so I can do that.”

The results have already won over a few café and shop owners around the county, including new East Village grocer Market Hall, Oceanside coffeeshop Banana Dang, and Little Italy coffee bar Heartsleeves.

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Manzanita Roasting Company opened within the rustic shopping village of the 125-year-old Bernardo Winery.
Manzanita Roasting Company opened within the rustic shopping village of the 125-year-old Bernardo Winery.
Place

Manzanita Roasting Company

13330 Paseo Del Verano, San Diego

Manzanita Roasting Company opened in December, cooking single-origin beans on a 15-kg Loring roaster in North County. The couple behind the coffee wholesaler is relatively new to the business. Weston and Samantha Nawrocki initially met over social media, bonding over a shared interest in wine.

While Samantha’s a local, Weston hails from Vancouver, British Columbia, and their long-distance relationship began with a wine-tasting rendezvous in Paso Robles. But as the courtship went on, they found themselves meeting in ballyhooed coffee destinations such as Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco. Eventuallly they decided to get married and bring their appreciation for artisan beans to Samantha’s home town.

Unlike most of the third-wave roasters around the county, they haven’t opened in a hip neighborhood. Far from it, actually. Samantha’s family has owned Bernardo Winery for three generations, so Manzanita opened among the vineyard’s collection of vintage and gourmet shops in the hills along the eastern edge of Rancho Bernardo.

While Samantha points out that more young adults from North Park and downtown have embraced the winery as a getaway from the city in recent times, the 125-year-old vineyard doesn’t typically serve the same coffee-literate clientele that might visit specialty shops such as Coffee & Tea Collective on El Cajon Boulevard or James Coffee in Little Italy.

Consequently, as Manzanita’s fresh beans have appeared in the winery’s onsite café, V’s Coffee Shoppe, the Nawrockis have seen many visitors take notice. The couple says some residents of a retirement community near the winery have really taken to the quality of Manzanita’s Brazil-origin decaf. Meanwhile, some other neighbors, accustomed to the chain shops and restaurants prevalent in the area, have been experiencing fresh-roasted, artisan coffee for the first time.

Samantha likens it to eating fresh bread. “Do you want to put your bread in the freezer for six months and then eat it?” she asks, “Or would you rather go to the bakery and get your bread fresh?”

Weston describes an aha! moment, when the commodity coffee drinker discovers that “Coffee quality is more important than just caffeine.” Once that happens, he says, it’s tough to go back. He recalls experiencing something similar as a kid, trying Lindt chocolate for the first time after growing up eating Mars candy bars — “And never being able to go back to Mars bars again.”

Weston, a certified sommelier with a restaurant background, has reveled in applying his palate to cupping and roasting. He says he worked three months exploring the ins and outs of his new roaster before Manzanita opened, refining his approach to profiling beans. “It’s all about taste,” he says, “and with a wine and food background, I thought — well, I’m trained in taste, so I can do that.”

The results have already won over a few café and shop owners around the county, including new East Village grocer Market Hall, Oceanside coffeeshop Banana Dang, and Little Italy coffee bar Heartsleeves.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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