Coffee cup

Hi folks!

Today’s blog is on Alpen Sierra Coffee, some of you know of it. It started up here in South Lake Tahoe in 1991, about the same time I was starting at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco as Garde Manger instructor.

Anyway, Christian Waskiewicz owner of Alpen Sierra Coffee Roasting Company, became well known for premium craft roasting of specialty coffees in the Sierra Nevada and now his blends and roasts sell around the world. A good friend for many years, Ed says you can smell him coming, his van reeks of that nutty, smoky, delicious coffee aroma, like if he had a roaster going in the back. Just wait until that aroma permeates the plaza outside our space at the Crossings. You will have to stop by every morning.

In 2002 Christian took Alpen Sierra to new heights becoming one of the first specialty coffee roasters to go sustainable and certified organic in Northern California. He realized that coffee growers, primarily family farmers owning small plots deep in the forest, were being squeezed out by mega businesses trying to cash in on the huge coffee market. He took a stand to help them maintain their way of life, protect the environment and bring the best and most sustainably grown coffee to market while “maintaining a healthy and prosperous balance of social, environmental and economic capital” (Sierra, 2014)


Coffee is the second greatest traded global commodity next to crude oil, valued in excess of $11 billion in trade annually.  (Sierra, 2014)

Because of its economic potential, big business has operated without regard for those who grow it, the land it is grown on or the wildlife displaced by deforestation. Certified Organic coffee follows sustainable practices regarding water sheds, recycling and waste control as well as eliminating the use of petro chemicals in the fertilizers, and poisons like herbicides and fungicides or insecticides. 


Coffee that is certified as fair trade, has been grown on locally owned farms where the farmers and workers are paid a fair wage and equitable price for their coffee bean harvest. In order for a coffee company to label their products as Fair Trade certified, they have to meet certain standards. Child labor is not allowed, and all workers must be able to work in safe healthy conditions. The farmers involved are part of an organized co-op, who all democratically make decisions involving pricing and profits for their collective harvests. (, 2018)


Shade grown coffee farms act as an oasis for over 150 species of migratory birds whose populations have declined 50% in just the last 35 years, in part due to habitat destruction caused by full-sun coffee plantations, which have 95% fewer bird species than their shaded counterparts.



RAINFOREST ALLIANCE: Socially and environmentally based. Open to coops and estates. Ecosystem protection through reforestation and conservation; shade forest components, minimum wage labor benefits; growers required to make specific donations to improve local communities.

Alpen Sierra coffees speak to the same values we have at the TAHOE POURHOUSE, those of sustainability, economic balance, and environmental protection. Their coffee is remarkably flavorful, rich without being bitter, and has a smooth satisfying finish. We will have three types of fresh brewed coffee for grab and go customers, yet to be decided, and will also have one of the premier coffee making appliances in the industry today, a Unic Tango Uno Milk Automatic Espresso Machine.


The high performance Unic Tango Uno Milk super automatic espresso machine, designed for rugged commercial application, is ideal for capacities upward of 25 lbs per week. 60,000 cycle piston seals allow the Tango very little supervision and the Tango's stainless steel brewing chamber and software design replicate and consistently deliver infusion parameters similar to barista controlled equipment. (, 2017) This machine will make the best and most consistent espresso, cappuccino, mocha, and macchiato drinks anywhere in Tahoe. Combined with state of the art whole bean grinders, brewing and service equipment for our grab and go coffees, we think you will be back again and again to the POURHOUSE for another cup of Joe. Just the way you like it!


References (2018). What is Fair Trade Coffee? Retrieved from Whole sale Beverages:

Sierra, A. (2014, April 23). Sustainable Coffee. Retrieved from AlpenSierraCoffee/blog: (2017). Inic Tango Uno Milk super automatic espresso machine. Retrieved from