Updated: Mar 30, 2019
Photos and story by Veronica Perry
July 17, 2018
The ritual of drinking coffee began centuries ago in Ethiopia. The drink was prepared ceremonially to pass energy and health to the drinker. Coffee is highly valued in many cultures, even considered to be “the favorite drink of a civilized world”, according to Thomas Jefferson. The ritual of drinking coffee has remained at the forefront of our lives to this day. All across the globe, most of us start our morning with a cup of coffee because we know it contains chemical qualities that keep us energized and alert.
However, of the many coffee shops available to us now, which should we choose for our morning ritual? What does it take to create the perfect cup of coffee and where can we find it?
This week, The Sacramento Spotlight shines on Chocolate Fish Coffee Roasters, a place where the people of Sacramento come to enjoy a rich cup of coffee and connection with the community. For this feature, we had the pleasure of speaking with Elvira Conty, the Director of Education for Chocolate Fish Coffee Roasters. Originally from Puerto Rico, her love for coffee runs deep. Although, her professional background is in Business Administration, specifically Human Resources, she told us about how she came to work at this specialty coffee shop in Sacramento.
“As I was doing my bachelor's I continued to take classes through the Specialty Coffee Association,” Conty says. “Then when I came here I started working for Chocolate Fish. It was the very first place I applied to. I came into the shop before-hand and fell absolutely in love with it. When I first had a shot of espresso, my thoughts were ‘this is so delicious, so sweet and I don't have to add anything to it.’ This is a coffee shop that screams specialty coffee.”
With the support of her Chocolate Fish family, she was also able to go to Seattle, Washington to obtain her level two certification through the Specialty Coffee Association. After gaining expertise and completing multiple instructor courses, Conty helped to build the program for education at Chocolate Fish. Meaning, she works to ensure that all of the baristas are as knowledgeable as possible about the coffee they serve. With first-class training and heightened community awareness, Conty notes that it is important to her that the baristas are savvy and successful.
“I’m a cheerleader for everyone,” Conty says proudly.
Chocolate Fish offers multiple classes to the community like home brewing, home barista and latte art to teach the public about the coffee-making process.
“We like to reach out to the public and encourage them to take classes as well,” Conty says. “We believe that people love seeing the baristas and we want the public to know that they can also be baristas at home, too.”
Their coffee tasting class, in particular, has attracted many coffee connoisseurs. Conty explains that the flight features five different coffees, processed three different ways, all from different countries and regions. Each featured coffee comes from a direct relationship Chocolate Fish has established and cultivated with producers - partnerships that not only benefit the businesses involved but the customers, too.
When a company has a direct relationship with their supplier this usually indicates better product quality and more room for innovative breakthroughs, which is great news for Chocolate Fish patrons.
“In the class I talk about everything that goes into a cup of coffee,” Conty says. “Why does it taste this way? What happens before it's even picked? What happens during the picking process and after the picking process? It can either be a wash process, natural process or honey process. Finally, what happens when it comes here, and how we roast to bring out those flavors.”
Yes - this creative coffee shop roasts in house!
If you have tried a cup of Chocolate Fish coffee you know it tastes like no other coffee around. Here's why: “We distinguish ourselves for bringing out sweetness and fruit acidity, so we never create coffee so dark that it compromises the natural characteristics of the coffee,” Conty says.
Chocolate Fish wants to make sure that the stories of the producers are being told with passion and integrity, one reason the producers that work with Chocolate Fish regularly come and speak to the public about their coffee.
“We want to highlight the producers as much as possible. We want our customers to know exactly what they are drinking so we want to make sure that the information is as accessible as possible.”
This specialty coffee shop is big on community connections, which is why they do not provide Wi-Fi in their shops.
“We truly want the community to connect when they are in our shop,” Conty says. "Here, all of our customers feel comfortable interacting."
While brewing up their own sense of community, Chocolate Fish actively seeks to help all the surrounding communities in Sacramento.
"We focus on bringing a lot to the community by being present at and contributing to different events,” Conty says. “We were just at Taste of East Sacramento. We also do a lot of donations within the Sacramento community.”
Chocolate Fish empowers and educates its employees through world-class leadership and training, resulting in an innovative, top tier staff. One of its owners, Edie Baker, was recently named honoree in the Sacramento Business Journal for Women Who Mean Business.
“I had an opportunity to attend the event and it was an honor to be around such powerful women,” Conty says. “It’s incredible how humble they are. The owners Edie and Andy had a vision of bringing great coffee to California and they succeeded. For me, I’m super grateful to work here and be a part of it.”
It's clear that Chocolate Fish Coffee Roasters provides incredible coffee, roasted and brewed by passionate employees. This company successfully recognizes internal talent and provides a space where employees can reach their fullest potential in the coffee industry. Unmatched in its flavor and friendliness, the coffee served at Chocolate Fish and the neighborly environment are second to none. Upgrade your morning ritual with a coffee from Chocolate Fish, where care and connection are served by the cup.
Chocolate Fish Coffee Roasters has three locations in Sacramento:
(Folsom Blvd & 48th St)
4749 Folsom Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95819
6:30am - 5:00pm Daily
(Freeport Blvd & Vallejo Way)
2940 Freeport Blvd
Sacramento, CA 95818
6:30am - 5:00pm Daily
(3rd and Q St)
400 P Street, Ste 1203
Sacramento, CA 95814
6:30am - 4:00pm Mon - Fri