SAN MARCOS, Calif. (KGTV) — "Coffee is not a flavor, it is a drink with many flavors," says Kyle Rosa, owner of Bluetail Coffee Grove in San Marcos.
After working in finance for 15 years, Kyle and his wife moved from San Francisco to San Diego to jump into the coffee-growing business — a move that his family and friends questioned.
"When I was talking to my family and friends, and explaining to them what I was going to do, that's when they said, what in the heck are you doing?" said Rosa. "It's never been done before and coffee is only grown in the tropics."
In fact, coffee had never been grown in the continental United States. But Rosa had a gut feeling it could be done, based on an old experiment
"A man named Jay Ruskey started growing coffee as an experiment about 10 or 20 years ago in Santa Barbara. Jay was fruitful at it, and turned that into a company called Frinj, which produces the plant materials to be able to grow the coffee down here," Rosa said. "So we know that it can be done if it can stand the environment."
And the environment has been a major hurdle. As it has cost Rosa a number of trees, but as he says, you learn and adapt.
"There are two things that will kill a coffee tree, and that's cold and wind. So we're learning back to back lessons in back to back years, and we're going to have some more loss this winter because of the winds," according to Rosa.
Bluetail Coffee Grove currently consists of 1,750 trees and 6 species. Which is a good test to see what coffee works, and what doesn't. And despite weather like frost, and the recent high winds, this summer Bluetail Coffee Grove will have their first harvest.
"To find something that actually hasn't been done is exciting That's what everybody wants, is to leave their mark so to speak. So that's what I'm doing here, and California coffee could be similar to California wine. It could be an amazing crop for this state," Rosa said.
He and his wife will soon be opening Breakers Coffee and Wine in Del Mar Highlands this Spring.