As our company celebrates its 20th year I can only reflect on the journey we’ve taken as one of Washington Dc’s original sustainable coffee companies…where has time gone? We certainly started before the buzz words were sustainable or farm direct. We just cared with great passion and believed in a product and a mission: improving coffee in a restaurant setting. The story of Santa Lucia is a grassroots one…Santa Lucia is a family business and my husband, William Gutierrez our founder and a Nicaraguan native was trading Agricultural products with great success. Nicaragua had a beautiful reputation selling coffee in Europe but not in the U.S. because of embargos held on the country over their revolution in the 80’s. In 1994 we traveled together to the Specialty Coffee Association Conference to learn about the developing Specialty Coffee business and attended a seminar “Coffee in the Restaurant Setting.” Why? At the time I was in the restaurant business as the Director of Marketing and Personal Assistant to local Italian giant Chef Roberto Donna and it caught my eye.  Little did we know this was to be a life changing moment.

That class led by David Dallis the incoming president of the SCAA opened our eyes about the inferior coffee most restaurants served and the need to improve this purchase. It also created an introduction to last forever. A 3rd generation Coffee Roaster in NYC,  David informed us that he was sourcing single origin coffees and if we did one day import to be in touch. That was the beginning of a 15 year partnership (David sold Dallis Coffee in 2009 and we all moved on but he’s a mentor and friend for life.) While we learnt that day that great chefs didn’t focus on coffee and many were still learning about olive oil’s and water at the time, William got the bug to walk in the door of every restaurant and hospitality establishment he could find and help them upgrade the first or last step of a meal.

Santa Lucia became a true family business. I joined William in partnership 8 years later and over the years our sons Robert and Marco avoided summer camp and worked with us: learning about beans, business and customer service. It’s hard to forget them out on the street personally delivering coffee since age 4 (as we still do today). Learning from the best Roasters and Chefs alike we understood the need to give back to our communities here and abroad. We support our farmers in Nicaragua and have been the Coffee of as many community events as we can. Through this great journey we also chose to keep Santa Lucia small and hands on: we love our clients and our city.  It’s been a great ride so far.

To our Santa Lucia Family thank you for your support ---to our future customers we welcome you to this mission!

Jodi Lehr

As we source our beans we have always believed in Farm responsibility and with fair pricing, we always pay a premium to the grower for their beans. Giving back to the workers and their families is something we are proud of and is a huge incentive in our world. The Farms provides us with the beautiful premium coffee cherries that produce a great cup allowing us to support better ways of life for many connected to the Farms. Additionally as we support the city that drinks our coffee most (Washington DC area), Santa Lucia participates with many charities in the tri-state area annually. Stop by one of these great Chef driven events, sample a cup and say hello!

Santa Lucia Estate Coffee | 7600 Lindbergh Drive Unit E, Gaithersburg MD 20879 | 240.460.1218

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