The Career Change: Clove & Cedar Coffeebar
After more than two decades working as an attorney, Bethesda resident Janet Forlini, 48, decided it was time for a career change. She wanted to do something community oriented, and she saw an opening in the Bethesda coffeehouse market. “We didn’t have nearly as many specialty coffee shops as D.C.,” she says. “Quartermaine is a legend that led the way, but there was room for more.” She turned her interest as a casual coffee drinker into something deeper and attended a Specialty Coffee Association national conference four years ago. “It was exciting,” she says. “They had breakout sessions with research papers on coffee. There were thousands of people there—growers, business owners—and I realized there was a lot to learn.”
Learn she did, eventually opening her bright 25-seat shop, Clove & Cedar Coffeebar, in June 2019. “On Sunday at 7 a.m., there may be a baby crawling on the floor, but we have every age,” Forlini says. “It’s a cozy feeling, a place to read the newspaper. People are getting work done, meeting up with friends or colleagues. My definition of success is familiar faces.”
Clove & Cedar buys from Ceremony Coffee Roasters, an Annapolis-based company that has a strong reputation for single-origin coffees. Order a turmeric, ginger and coconut-laced latte and have them put in a shot of espresso. Or an oat milk cortado made with equal amounts of espresso and oat milk.
Forlini sources items from D.C.-area suppliers, including Soupergirl (soups), Wellfound Foods (breakfast burrito, egg sandwiches, oats, chia pudding, yogurt), The Red Bandana Bakery (gluten-free treats), Henry’s Sweet Retreat (biscotti) and Fresh Baguette (croissants).
Clove & Cedar Coffeebar, 4918 St. Elmo Ave., Bethesda; 301-718-9400; cloveandcedarcoffeebar.com
All About Fairness: Mayorga Organics
Martin Mayorga, the sole owner of Rockville’s Mayorga Organics, founded the company in 1995 to support fair trade for small coffee growers in Nicaragua by cutting out middlemen between growers and consumers. To further the goal, he opened a roasting facility in Rockville in 1997. The company’s stated mission now is to eliminate systemic poverty in rural Latin America.
The 18,000-square-foot facility is on display behind glass windows. Its 20-seat cafe is more a spot to sip a double macchiato, chill, watch the action on four machines cranking out freshly roasted beans, and appreciate the larger mission behind the joe—and less a place to hang out, work and eat a breakfast sandwich (they don’t sell food). The coffee menu is about quality over quantity: espresso drinks (latte, cappuccino, cortado, etc.), drip, pour-over, cafe con leche and cold brew. Mayorga goes through 1 million pounds of roasted coffee a year, most of which goes to wholesale accounts, such as Amazon, Costco, MOM’s Organic Market and Giant Food.
Mayorga’s director of coffee is Derwood resident Eduardo Choza, 36, who started with the company in 2017. Touring coffee farms in El Salvador opened his eyes to how unfairly many companies treat farmers. “We work with nine different organic co-ops or family farms in Central and South America and one in Sumatra, Indonesia,” Choza says. “We go to them, check the collecting, drying, sorting and bagging process. We see what their needs are, maybe achieving better financing rates, helping with certifications or dealing with agronomists. We are very directly involved. It’s not just the beverage, it’s the people.”
Mayorga Organics, 1029 E. Gude Drive, Rockville; 301-315-8093; mayorgaorganics.com
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