RĀKO Coffee Roasters is introduced to Clarendon! And RĀKO is out to create the best coffee possible – (their name “RĀKO” translates to ‘challenge’). The roaster they use is actually “named” after RĀKO mountain, a soaring, solitary mountain in the Yirgacheffe region of Ethiopia that the small company encountered while visiting a vendor. Their mission: create elevated, exceptional coffees while giving back to the communities. AND….they can serve alcohol (they have a Mixed Beverage alcohol license) thanks to ABC Consulting.The two-sister company (Lisa and Melissa Gerben) opened their new location – an all-day café in Clarendon, which will serve an array of coffee drinks as well natural wines, caffeine-infused cocktails, and seasonal plates. This is our photo diary of our visit with our client, in Clarendon!
They have fortitude: founded by sisters Melissa and Lisa Gerben in late 2019, they planned to open a café last year, but the pandemic delayed that, so instead they shifted vision, launched an online store and a D.C. pop up location, instead.
They have decades of vision: Melissa Gerben, a certified specialty coffee roaster, says the seeds for RĀKO were planted when she and her sister Lisa visited Guatemalan coffee farms, as teenagers. The two have since traveled to Ethiopia, Burundi, and beyond, creating relationships with coffee farmers, many of whom they directly import from. Even during the pandemic, the Gerbens traveled to Guatemala to directly source a new line of coffees.
They are green: they are committed to environmentally-friendly roasting practices and roast on a Loring™ S35 Kestrel and S15 Falcon. These roasters use 80% less fuel and emit almost no greenhouse gas! Their delicious roasts are consistent and repeatable. The drinks menu centers on natural wines (a collective term for wines that eschew the chemicals, additives and extra processes found in many commercial wines, from cultivation to harvest to production).
They source fairly and responsibly: most coffees are single origin, imported directly from the coffee farmers (with whom they have personal friendships with!). The RĀKO team believes that the best way to help communities is through economic empowerment, and by importing coffee directly from the source, it allows the farmers and their communities to grow and thrive.
Their menu is unique: they offer seasonal foods, such as cucumber gazpacho and strawberry and manchego salad, and meze and cheese boards. Breakfasts come from local bakeries. Their “pocket foods” such as salteñas, empanadas and sambussas, give a nod to the coffee-growing regions of Bolivia, Colombia and Ethiopia, respectively. Breakfast and baked goods will come from local bakeries.
Roastery: 7405 Lockport Place, Suite D, Lorton, VA, 22079
Café: RĀKO Coffee Roasters, 2016 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201-3076
Call them: (804)665-6055
Pop Ups: follow their Facebook page.
*Disclaimer: This article and its contents represent the opinions of the author only and is not intended to convey or constitute legal advice. ABC Consulting is a private consulting firm, in way do we represent the VA ABC Authority. You should not act upon any such information without seeking qualified professional advice based upon your situation.