For coffee lovers in San Diego, trying different beans is as exciting as sampling new hop IPAs for craft beer fans. With the world of java expanding from locales around the world, there is a seemingly endless supply of new coffee frontiers.
With its eye-catching and vibrant packaging, San Diego’s Mesteeso Coffee is gaining fans through its cart at Del Mar’s Viewpoint Brewing Company and a new online venture. Brazilian Marcelo Kertesz, CEO and co-founder, and Matthew Delarosa, coffee director and co-founder, have teamed up to bring the flavors and appreciation of Brazilian coffee to the San Diego scene.
Mesteeso’s first releases include ethically produced coffee from the Cerrado Mineiro, a certified Destination of Origin (DO) region, called Cafezinho Omni Roast, Tudo Bem Single Origin Espresso, Saudade Single-Origin Filter Drip and Boa Noite Brazilian Decaf.
In honor of the new beans, PACIFIC raised mugs with Kertesz and Delarosa while getting the down low on San Diego’s newest coffee company.
PACIFIC: How is Brazilian coffee different than other origins in terms of flavor and aroma?
MATTHEW DELAROSA: Generally speaking, Brazilian coffee is known for its big body, chocolate and nutty flavors, and that it pairs well with milk-based drinks. But, that’s not the only flavors you can get. Part of our mantra is to showcase those flavors you might not perceive as Brazilian, like floral and fruit notes, and present them at an elevated level.
How did you two meet?
MARCELO KERTESZ: Coffee is a very social beverage in Brazil, but here it is often a lonely moment. In Brazil, you constantly meet people for coffee, and you take many breaks during the day. With Brazil being the number one producer and number two consumer in the world, the thought is the coffee is bulk and low quality. But it’s actually the opposite, we have generations of small farmers, and I wanted to bring that to the U.S. I met Matt, and he is master of the craft.
DELAROSA: I had already been roasting coffee for 3 to 4 years, and when Marcelo approached me it was automatic; I knew it was a great idea. His direction was amazing, with the combination of his vision and the sourcing. I thought it was a great way to do something different in the specialty coffee market, with craft coffee as the base.
What does “ethically produced” mean?
DELAROSA: It’s a very broad term, but we are sourcing coffee that doesn’t have conflict in culture and community, and not produced against anyone’s will. There is transparency in our supply chain.
You are working toward a fair trade certification. What’s involved there?
DELAROSA: Fair trade certification guarantees a specific amount is paid back to the farmers from where we are sourcing. Fair trade is guaranteed above the commodity pricing. We want to give back so that the farmers can live a life to flourish. We want to work directly with farmers, and in some cases we are paying above the fair trade price, and the money goes back to the farmers and we can continue to grow the industry.
For someone trying Brazilian coffee for the first time, what do you recommend?
DELAROSA and KERTESZ (in unison): The Cafezinho.
Is there a Brazilian tradition that people should try here?
KERTESZ: The most traditional is the Cafezinho drip and it’s served short, like an espresso. It’s like saying, “hello.” The Pingado is our morning coffee, with more milk than coffee. It literally means “a dash of coffee.” And the Carioca, it’s like an Americano — a coffee that is diluted with hot water.
Where can coffee lovers get Mesteeso?
DELAROSA: We have the cart at Viewpoint (in Del Mar), and there is a beer there named Mesteeso that uses the Cafezinho. We are also selling online. Stay tuned for more locations.
As deciphered by Marcelo Kertesz
Mesteeso: Literally it means “mixed,” and more than 50% of Brazilians refer to themselves as mesteeso. We feel like a mixed, blended people. With coffee there is a chemistry that relates to us as Brazilians, and we are very proud of it.
Cerrado Mineiro region: It is a traditional state in Brazil, and cerrado is a type of microclimate.
Cafezinho: It means “little coffee,” a word we Brazilians use to refer to coffee. It’s like an espresso, and is found everywhere in Brazil. No matter how rich or poor they are, people will always offer you a cafezinho.
Tudo Bem: “All is well,” it is both a question and an answer. It means everything is alright.
Saudade: There’s not a direct translation to English, but it refers to a feeling of missing something or someone.
Boa Noite: “Good night,” it’s a perfect name for our decaf.