Soaring growth

Condor Coffee to open its tasting room this month, and a coffee shop in Weston this winter


Dr. Alberto Araya and his son and now partner, Ivancarlos Araya-Schraner, behind the counter at Condor Coffee’s new tasting room in the town of Easton.

Dr. Alberto Araya has big plans for Condor Coffee. He wants to be to Wausau and Central Wisconsin what Collectivo is to Milwaukee: the area’s major coffee roaster that’s also associated with great coffee shops.

Condor is taking some major steps this year toward that goal. Not only is a tasting room at Condor Coffee’s town of Easton facility set to open soon, the company also will open its first coffee shop in Weston in the next few months. And, Araya is eyeing space along Wausau’s new riverfront too, as one of the projects planned for the Riverlife Village area.

Condor Coffee has doubled its production in the past year, and doubling the number of days they roast on in order to keep up with demand, says Araya, who launched the company in 2013.

Visitors to the tasting room, which will start featuring its first events in the next few weeks, will see the roasting operations up close and personal. The 1,600 square foot room is equipped with a window to the area where coffee is roasted and bagged. Araya and his son, Ivancarlos Araya-Schraner, now a partner in the business after years working at a private equity firm, roast the beans themselves because the process requires so much precision. “If you look away from the roaster for 10 seconds you can make a bad batch,” Araya-Schraner says.

Araya-Schraner will manage the first Condor Coffee shop, located in the new retail development across from Target in Weston. The café must open within 90 days according to the lease they just signed.

The tasting room and soon-to-open coffee shop are the latest expansions to the company that Araya runs in addition to being a medical doctor at Aspirus. Araya (called Beto to those who know him) was born in Chile, and developed his love of coffee while in medical school, where coffee is a necessity to keep up with studies. The more he learned about coffee, the more he wanted to start a business surrounding it. After his children were grown and left the house, Araya decided it was time to start Condor Coffee.

Education is a big part of the tasting room experience, Araya says. The room is equipped with ornate tables and couches, surrounding a projector. On a late morning visit, a video about coffee production plays on the screen as Araya gives a tour of the new tasting room. In the corner is a coffee bar equipped with all the gizmos a coffee aficionado will adore — French presses, pour-over devices, a fridge with bottled cold brew, and even a nitro tank for smooth cold-brewed coffee.

The first events should start within a few weeks, Araya says, with plans to pair Sunday morning coffee events with yoga teachers, bakers or floral arrangers. He’s looking to hold weekday events, too.

Opening a tasting room and a coffee shop within a couple of months of each other might seem ambitious, but Araya doesn’t plan on stopping there. “We want to be the more like the Collectivo of Central Wisconsin, rather than them coming up this way,” Araya says. “We’re not going to stop at one store.”