I tasted my first coffee when I was six years old. My dad made the mistake of leaving his creamed and sugared brew sitting where I could reach it. It was delicious. I would've never thought that I would become a coffee shop owner because coffee was just something that was always around in our house. My mother had a pot going in her Mr. Coffee from the time I woke up till she shut it off when she went to bed. She drank hers black! I had no idea that I was in the middle of the first wave of coffee.
What does that mean? The “first wave” of coffee in the United States was when people would buy it, mostly in its pre-ground state, and brew it at home or buy a cup that had been batch-brewed at a restaurant or cooked over an open fire out on the prairie. Who knew where it came from or how the beans were processed. The “second wave” found companies like Pete’s and Starbucks building followings as they crafted individual drinks with all kinds of additions of flavors and milks. These gourmet beverages are based, somewhat loosely, on the methods of making espresso in Italian bars in where both alcoholic drinks and espresso drinks are served. Dark roasted beans are ground when the drink is ordered, with an emphasis on creating a drink tailored to the desires of the individual customer. America and eventually the world learned a vocabulary of the mermaid’s making, as people stepped up to order a Venti Half Caf Soy Latte with extra foam that no one pulling shots in Italy would even recognize.
Meanwhile, a group of intrepid coffee lovers were discovering that a less roasted bean can offer flavor notes that are amazing. And the varieties of beans, where they are grown and how they are processed has everything to do with those flavors. They were roasting, brewing, and experiencing coffees from all over the world. The “third wave” was on its way.
I had my first espresso in Little Italy in NYC on my first real date with my now husband, Vic. He ordered it for me and watched amusingly as I tasted it, then emptied a bunch of creamers and sugar packets into it. The barista must have been thinking “What a tourist!” I probably should have ordered an Americano, which is made when you add hot water to your espresso, making it more like traditional black coffee from home. That was 35 years ago, before I was introduced to coffee shops. I have learned through the years of being married to Vito that good espresso is an acquired taste, though I still like mine with an equal amount of half and half, which is called a Cortado.
Vito’s Espresso, LLC was established here in Jackson, MI in December, 2017 and is a third wave shop that serves excellent espresso made from beans roasted in Bay City by Populace, but grown all over the coffee belt. You can try several brew methods such as pour-over, French press, Clever, Aeropress, and even Turkish. You can get a home made pastry with it, or you can get a panini and homemade soup for lunch.
One thing we are working to create here at Vito’s is community. Whether you sit at the bar conversing with Vito or another barista, or if you meet someone to enjoy a few moments relaxing in the couch area, you will find that the space is great for conversation. You can also find a cozy table to work on your laptop with the free wi-fi. You may run into a friend, or meet a new one while you bond over a great cup of Joe. We are open 7am to 5pm Monday to Saturday.
Running Vito’s with my husband Is not what I would have ever expected to be doing for my second career, but it’s the greatest time to be in the espresso industry. And Vito’s is the best place to be reminded of what is so great about coffee. We hope to see you soon!
Written by Lin Schiro