Monument Coffee Roasters

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By Tracy Shevlin | Photos by Rob Jinks, Rob Jinks Photography

Alycia Otte brought her coffee expertise to Manassas after managing one of her father’s coffee shops in Oregon.

Alycia Otte brought her coffee expertise to Manassas after managing one of her father’s coffee shops in Oregon.

Alycia Otte grew up surrounded by the coffee business. Her father, David Campbell, owned two coffee shops in Oregon and passed his knowledge and passion for coffee on to Otte. After managing one of his shops and working at another during college, Otte, along with her husband Jay, brought her expertise to the Manassas area and opened Monument Roasters in 2014.

Operating primarily as a wholesaler, the company’s coffees can be found in local coffee shops, restaurants and small specialty grocery stores. Prince William Living spoke with Otte to learn more about Monument Roasters.

PWL: Many of us enjoy coffee every day, but know very little about roasting coffee beans. Can you tell us more about that?

Otte: Roasting coffee is a craft. It’s a bit like making a craft beer. It is a balance of art and science. The time, temperature and airflow during the roast will greatly affect the outcome. We are a single-origin, small batch roaster, which means we roast one type of bean at a time, and each batch is 30 pounds or less. Roasting in small batches allows us greater quality control and ensures a higher quality product.

We specialize in light to medium roasts, which allow more of the natural flavor of the beans come through. However, we do make some dark roast coffees at the request of some of our clients. It is true that darker roasts of coffee do lose some of their caffeine in the roasting process.

The important quality to note about freshly roasted coffee beans is that the coffee is much more flavorful. One can clearly taste the distinct flavors of the beans. For example, African coffee beans have a citrus or fruity flavor, South American beans have a nutty flavor, and Indonesian beans have an earthier flavor.

PWL: How do you locate your suppliers?

Otte: We buy coffee beans from all over the world with the help of a specialized coffee broker. He and his partner visit the small farms and broker the deals for us. It is helpful to have a broker who is an expert in import and export matters. It saves us from having to maintain those types of licenses.

Some of the farms that supply our beans are on less than acre of land, and the farmer lives on that land as well. It’s amazing really. On most of these small farms, the coffee beans are processed by hand or with rudimentary equipment out of the farmer’s home. On these tiny farms, farmers must form a co-op, and combine their beans in order to have enough product to sell. We are happy to be able to support these small farmers. It suits us not only because we are a small batch roaster, but it’s also in keeping with our core value: “buy local, shop small.”

PWLiving June 2016 Mon_Coffee_RJinks_002

PWL: Who do you sell to?

Otte: While anyone can buy our coffees online, our focus has been to develop relationships with small shops, restaurants and independent specialty grocery stores and other small outlets where the freshness and quality of our coffees are a good match for the customer base.

We list on our webpage locations where our coffee can be purchased either by the bag or enjoyed by the cup. These include shops across the area in Manassas, Haymarket and Middleburg. This summer we will also be selling our coffee at the Manassas and Reston farmers markets. We hope that in the future, we will be able to open our facility to the public for special tasting events.

PWL: Most business owners know that starting a new company can be a stressful venture. What resources have been most valuable to you?

Otte: We have learned so much from attending 1 Million Cups meetings. 1 Million cups is an organization of entrepreneurs that meet each Wednesday from 9-10 a.m. at the Hylton Performing Arts Center. We have coffee, provided by Monument Roasters, and solve practical problems that affect local business owners. It is also 100 percent free to attend.

At each meeting, one of the members presents a problem that his or her business is facing. For the remainder of the meeting the rest of the attendees can ask questions or help problem solve the issue. Some of the topics we have discussed include marketing and sales tactics, employee retention, scaling and expansion of business.

It has been extremely rewarding and educational. We have learned so much! I would encourage any entrepreneur to attend.

PWL: You mentioned that you support some local charities through your coffee sales. Can you elaborate?

Otte: Absolutely! Our values center around supporting our community in how we do business, but also in giving back. While we normally roast one type of bean and minimize blended coffees, we have been creating signature blends each quarter to support local charities.

We created our Warrior Blend to support the Warrior360 organization. We met at the Badwolf Brewing Co., brewfest where we each had a booth. We loved their cause, and they loved our coffee, so it seemed a perfect match.

Warrior360 provides physical, financial and other assistance to military personnel who need help upon returning home from deployment. The organization’s mission is to support others who selflessly serve our country. We are proud to give to this organization though our coffee sales and special blend and have also included a link to its webpage on our site.

To learn more about Monument Roasters, please visit their website at

Tracy Shevlin ( is a native Virginian and long-time Manassas area resident. She is a graduate of George Mason University where she is also an office manager. Follow her on twitter @nvalady1.


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