Coffee flight

(First published in the August 16, 2018 issue of City Pages)

From a farmers market operation to major coffee roaster, Condor Coffee now opens a café in Weston



Ivan Araya in the newly opened Condor Coffee Shop in Weston.

There’s a long family story behind the café that Ivan Araya and his father, Dr. Alberto Araya just opened on Schofield Drive in Weston, in front of Target. Part of Condor Coffee’s story is evident in the black and white photos of their coffee bean roasting facility.

Alberto, originally from Chile, moved to the area and began working as a family physician for Aspirus in 2004. “He was really into roasting coffee beans at home as a hobby,” says Ivan. “He nerds out … about why certain beans from certain regions are roasted a certain way based on altitude, climate and composition of the bean.”

Alberto started selling his coffee beans at Wausau-area farmers markets in 2012 and the coffee became so popular he was selling out, says Ivan.

Sales expanded to coffee shops, restaurants, grocery stores and wholesalers. And Condor Coffee (the Andean condor is the national symbol of Chile) was born.

The roasting operation then moved out of Alberto’s home and into a 7,000 square foot facility in the Town of Easton. “All roasters are connected to computers that map out every roast profile. We’ll keep testing a certain batch of beans and figure out the exact profile to roast it and then we save the profile and replicate it on the computer,” Ivan says.

Ivan helped his father’s business when he could, and in 2017 left his investment banking job in Milwaukee to join his father full-time to run the coffee business.

Ivan credits their high quality beans and great care and precision in the roasting process for Condor Coffee’s popularity. They buy green beans from 13 specific countries (not blended with other countries) and roast them in their own facility. “There’s an art to it but also to get a really consistent profile you have to have a scientific approach,” Ivan says about the roasting process.

Opening a coffee shop seemed like the next logical step, says Ivan. “We were looking around and there wasn’t a craft roaster in Wausau that has an actual cafe and I was driving by here one day and literally said ‘that looks like the perfect place.’”

Ivan says they wanted an inviting shop with ample seating and space where customers could go to enjoy coffee and conversation, do homework or read a book.

Condor Coffee shop offers 18 varieties, which include five house blends. They offer simple lunch food items, as well as espresso, teas, craft drinks like pour-overs, aeropress, and Nitro cold brew.

Condor Coffee and is drive-thru are open 5:30 am – 10 pm Monday thru Saturday, and 7 am-7 pm Sundays. 715-218-2368.