Corberosa Coffee growing locally

Andrew Houghtaling inspecting one of the specialty Arabica coffee varietals in Cambria — believed to be the most northern coffee plantation currently in the world. (Contributed photo)

Plantation is located in Cambria

NORTH COUNTY — Coffee connoisseurs in the North County might count two roasters in the City of Atascadero at the moment, but since last, they checked there is a third option looking to bring the caffeinated treat from field to cup.

Corberosa Premium Air-Roasted Coffee has been around for just under five years, with private demonstrations and events where they show folks the process up close and personal, but new this year they've brought in another partner to get a coffee shop established in the City.

What really makes them noteworthy is that the beans they’re already roasting at a facility in Atascadero, have been grown at one of California's only coffee producing farms.

Andrew Houghtaling, Director of Operations for the company explains that the avocado canopies from Cambria to San Diego provide microclimates for Arabica coffee to flourish given the right care. Their plantings in Cambria may be the northernmost coffee beans growing in the world right now, he adds.

In January, Houghtaling, who cofounded Corberosa with partner Colin Princi, went to Cal Poly Pomona for a summit to represent the California Coffee Initiative.

Now 37 years-old, Houghtaling grew up in San Luis Obispo agriculture but spent some formative time on the Hawaiian island of Maui learning the coffee trade before finding his way back to the Central Coast, where he teamed up with Princi, a Cal Poly San Luis Obispo grad who’d been experimenting with growing coffee in the avocado shade canopies.

“It’s a really exciting product for California,” Houghtaling said, “That’s true if you look up the US coffee production Hawaii comes up first, but there’s more out there than you think.”

California avocado growers, hard hit by fluctuating conditions for their crops over the last few years, welcome an opportunity for increased income, he adds, noting that climate and soil requirements for coffee and avocado match each other well. Corberosa is hitting its stride now as its pilot crops mature.

“The plan is for us to roast all California-grown coffee [at some point] in 2020,” he said, adding that the craft production with a goal of being 100 percent field-to-cup when they open their own shop, “is the third wave of fresh coffee,” with boutique offerings supplanting a Tate for the beverage that started with instant, migrated to chains and is now oriented around boutique local.

Opening dates for an Atascadero shop are a long way off yet, but the partnership has brought in a third, Trevor Freeman, to establish a location. Right now they’ve got an eye on the retail and mixed-use space in plans for the La Plaza development slated across El Camino Real with a view of City Hall.

For more information on growing coffee in the previously inhospitable California climate go online to: cacoffeeinitiative.com.

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