Lizzy's Fresh Coffee
Liz Roquet started her coffee roasting journey in 2008. Growing up the daughter of an Austrian pastry chef, coffee rituals have been a part of her life from the beginning. With Lizzy’s Fresh Coffee, she strives to select the best green coffee beans, support the origin communities of growers, and provide the absolute freshest coffee to our community. Sipping a perfectly brewed cup of her coffee is an ideal way to start a day in the Wood River Valley. We caught up with Liz in this month’s Local Food Hero piece.
How did you get to where you are today? What’s your background, education, work experience in relation to food?
Back in 2008 I was jobless after the company I was working for decided to move its whole team from Idaho to Oregon. I could have gone to continue my career in Operations Management, but it was going to be pretty hard to get my mountain loving family out of the mountains, so we decided to stay and figure out a new path.
That’s when Lizzy’s Fresh Coffee was born. My idea? I wanted to bring people amazing coffees, and lots of smiles. Growing up as the daughter of an Austrian pastry chef, I had a love of coffee from as far back as I can remember. The rituals around coffee were always part of my life, whether it was morning coffee and toast, or afternoon coffee and cake. At my parents’ pastry shop, I watched as customers and friends gathered every afternoon to chat or gossip over coffee, and it was later obvious that this magical beverage was the center of so much happiness and community. With this new chapter of my life, I wanted to be part of creating joy and bringing people together over amazing coffee.
My degree was in International Business, with language minors, and I had worked for 15 years in manufacturing operations at outdoor product companies managing teams for raw materials purchasing and planning. Needless to say, I had a valuable foundation in the business skills to run my new coffee roasting company, but none of the coffee roasting skills. I quickly embarked on my coffee education, beginning with training from my roaster manufacturer, then developing roast profiles with my coffee import partner. From there I embarked on a years-long journey for my Coffee Roaster and Barista Certifications through the Specialty Coffee Association. The education included over 40 courses ranging from green coffee grading, to cupping and quality analysis, a trip to coffee origin in Colombia, coffee preparation methods, and written and practical exams. Even though I have attained the highest level certifications offered by the SCA, the amazing thing about coffee is that the adventure and learning never really ends. At each step of my development, I have been able to apply my knowledge to further my skills in roasting and brewing coffee. I strive to create, innovate, and push my abilities in coffee roasting and preparation so that I can bring the best possible products to my customers.
Why is it important to have local roasteries?
Coffee is a global product that has far reaching impacts on tiny little communities all over the world. It’s grown between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn throughout the globe, so the only US states with green coffee cultivation are Hawaii and newly developing production “outside the lines” in California. Coffee quality is graded, so the range of quality and prices is quite large. Specialty Grade is the top grade, and about 10% of the world’s production. At Lizzy’s, we’re currently purchasing Specialty Grade coffee from 18 different origins throughout Central and South America, Africa, and Indonesia. How a coffee roaster purchases and manages its supply chain decisions is incredibly important. A coffee roaster that purchases coffee off a list, based on its low price is most often not selecting high quality, and is not meeting the need to improve quality of life in coffee growing communities. Coffee has a long history of exploitation and unfair trade practices that force farmers to go underpaid and live in poverty. Here at Lizzy’s, we have tight relationships within our supply chain. We work only with coffee import partners that develop relationships directly with the growers. By investing deeply in the origin community’s success, our importers are able to support the growers in maximizing their quality and output, and they, in turn, earn fair and equitable prices for their delicious coffees. Paying appropriately for green coffee leads to environmental success as well. For example, when coffee producers are planting coffee on the forest floor in the shade of other trees, not only are bird habitats preserved, but the entire ecosystem works better. When choosing a coffee roaster, you should ask about its purchasing practices, its certifications, and its overall commitment to the global coffee communities health and future. Beyond selecting amazing green coffees and roasting them beautifully, our local customers enjoy the flavor of the absolute freshest coffees, literally picking up their orders the same day they’re roasted.
You offer coffee classes at your roasterie. What are some of your tips for brewing great coffee?
Here at Lizzy’s every single day is about educating our customers – no question is silly! Coffee is a team sport from the farmer, to the roaster, to the barista at the café, or the person brewing at home in their kitchen. Once you get a fresh bag of beans, there’s still so much work to do to get a delicious outcome in your cup. The most important tips are:
Buy fresh coffee. Ideally, you have your coffee 1-3 days after roasting, and will use it within 1-2 weeks. Only buy what you need for 1-2 weeks. If you buy old coffee, you can’t expect it to knock your socks off no matter where it comes from.
Store at room temperature in an airtight, opaque container. Yes, right on your countertop or pantry! Light, air, moisture, and heat are coffee’s enemies. Never store your daily supplies in the refrigerator or freezer
Grind right before brewing. Only grind what you need. The minute you grind your coffee, it loses flavor. Purchasing pre-ground coffee, whether in a bag, can or pod, is not recommended, but sometimes the convenience outweighs the loss of flavor. You get to decide what works best for you! Adjust your grind for the type of coffee: Fine ground for short brew cycles (like espresso machines), medium ground for longer brew cycles (like drip machines), and coarser for press pots (like a French press). The best type of grinder to use is a burr grinder, as it produces the most consistent and exact grind.
Brew using fresh, clean, filtered water. If the water you use tastes like old tires, so will your coffee.
What’s your favorite locally inspired meal to cook at home?
At home, my husband is the family cook, and we are so lucky that he is inspired to prepare amazing meals. He is the master of incredible summer salads that usually go along with a grilled meat. Nothing beats the insanely delicious salad ingredients we enjoy here in Idaho – fresh butter lettuce, microgreens, tomatoes, cooked and chilled beets, goat cheese, cucumber, radishes, and maybe a sprinkle of fresh strawberries.
What’s your favorite local food to pair with a great cup of coffee?
When it comes to a coffee experience, just sipping a single origin coffee and taking in all its intricacies, like highlights of apricot, lemon and caramel, is mind-blowing. But the ultimate coffee-food pairing is an affogato. I prepare this Italian specialty with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream (made with local cream, milk and eggs), and a freshly brewed extraction of espresso poured over it. If there is a heaven, this is what I’ll probably have every day.
What’s your must memorable food story from your childhood?
When I was a little girl growing up here in Ketchum, the summer off from school was just one day after another of outside play time. My parents would often plan family and friend cookouts at the Boundary picnic area out Trail Creek. We would pull into any one of the empty picnic sites in our VW camper van, and get to work. My Dad, his friends, my sisters and I would head straight to the creek to catch some trout. We would bait our hooks with worms we had just dug from our backyard garden, and get busy catching enough fish from each of our “secret” fishing holes to feed to group. It usually took just 30 minutes to get the job done. As soon as the fish were caught, all of us kids would get straight into the real fun of tag, hide and seek, and rock skipping in the creek. On this one picnic evening I remember playing frisbee when one of the adult guests at the picnic noticed a morel mushroom poking straight up from the ground. Our “frisbee toss” turned immediately to “mushroom hunt”. My dad and his Austrian chef friends were losing their minds finding one mushroom after another. We had hit the jackpot that evening. We had fresh trout from the creek breaded and fried in butter, topped with fresh morels fried in butter and garlic. I don’t remember how the menu that night finished out, but it was likely a garden salad and a traditional German potato salad. All I remember is everyone just telling the story over and over about finding the mushrooms. The funny thing about my parents’ friend group was that included Sun Valley resort’s finest Austrian chefs, including the likes of Franz Kubak, Peter Weiss, and Peter Schott. They were a kooky bunch, and they were always duking it out over the charcoals, but they were fun and knew how to have a great time over good, real food.
Who are your food heroes?
Here at Lizzy’s we have the privilege of working with some incredible restaurants and cafés in the Wood River Valley. It’s not easy to provide freshness and quality in a small town. I’m so impressed by the masters at CK’s, Hank & Sylvie’s, The Covey, Il Naso, & Galena Lodge. However, I am particularly inspired by what Matt Robinson at the Konditorei in Sun Valley resort has done over the years that we’ve roasted our certified organic coffees for their bar. He has attained a 3-Star Green Restaurant Association certification, which is a first within the ski industry, and truly shows a commitment to sustainability. Every time I go there, there’s another local food being featured, whether that’s cheese, greens, meats, vegetables or milk. Matt and his team really walk the walk, which is inspiring. What change(s) would you like to see in the Wood River Valley in terms of food?
I’m happy to see that our community is continuing to grow with people who also enjoy the lifestyle. It’s wonderful to have a strong local food supply chain, but if there aren’t customers for those goods, it falls apart. With our community growing, I see more people interested in buying delicious, fresh local products, and I feel really hopeful that our local food ecosystem will continue to expand and improve in the years to come.
Where can people purchase your coffee?
Freshness is literally our middle name, so we roast to order and sell direct to consumer. Shop on our website at www.lizzysfreshcoffee.com for coffee roasted fresh to your order. Select local “Ketchum Coffee Box” pick up, or have it shipped anywhere nationwide. Or, drop by our roasterie at 491 10th St, A-3 in Ketchum Mon-Fri from 8am-3pm to purchase in person. At this time our roasterie’s coffee bar and store are offering curbside service only, so simply walk up to the speaker at our window to shop. Sip a coffee from our bar between 8am-11am Mon-Fri.