Pachamama Coffee is owned by small-scale farmers and therefore distinguishes itself from the many other coffee shops in Davis.
Pachamama Coffee Cooperative, on 521 First St., was established in Davis in 2001. Nicolas Brown, the co-founder, was studying at the UC Davis Medical School, and he decided that Davis was the perfect place for a global cooperative of coffee farmers. He saw that Davis was at the crossroads of several important movements — farm-to-fork, grower cooperatives, organic agriculture, viniculture and specialty coffee.
“Pachamama goes beyond the [conventional] model of fair/direct trade by organizing farmers as owners of their own brand and distribution. By roasting, branding and selling their best coffee, farmers are capturing a much [greater] percentage of the market value of their crop,” said Thaleon Tremain, current CEO of Pachamama in Davis.
There are no other international coffee cooperatives in the U.S. Pachamama currently represents over 100,000 families in Africa and Latin America.
The goal of Pachamama’s coffee is to create a more dynamic and sustainable supply chain. In 10 years, there may well be a significant shortage of high quality coffee on the world market because demand is growing faster than the supply.
The concept of this is similar to a farmers market. For instance, people who shop at the Davis Farmers Market deal directly with farmers, not middlemen. As a result, the farmers get more money and are able to successfully produce more organic food.
Usually in the coffee industry, farmers are “price-takers,” meaning they have no choice but to accept current market prices for their commodity, in spite of production costs. The “price-makers,” such as Nestlé or other large corporations, purchase a majority of the global coffee supply, and therefore significantly control the market price for coffee. However, at Pachamama, the farmers have the freedom to set prices.
“There is no better place in America for coffee farmers to open a cafe. The local Davis community really cares about sourcing organic food directly from farmers,” said Mollie Moisan, director of outreach at Pachamama Coffee.
Every item on the menu is certified organic. The organization believes that is what keeps customers coming back.
“I’ve been to Pachamama’s a couple times and it’s pretty amazing. I’m definitely coming here more. You literally can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. My favorite is the Pacha Cold Brew. It’s the bomb,” said Shyamal Sheth, a first-year biological sciences major.
Krush Burger, a burger joint that also operates several food trucks, opened in early February in The Marketplace in North Davis near West Covell Boulevard. It is located at the space once held by Rostini’s Italian Kitchen.
“We have tested the market and Davis has a good community with more families and will provide steady business,” said CEO Davin Vculek.
The current locations in Sacramento are in an urban, industrial area that only gets thriving business during lunch hours from workers; therefore, the restaurant hits a number of slow periods.
“Even though Davis is a college town, we will be able to thrive without college students,” Vculek said.
The restaurant will offer 12 microbrews, which will be “satisfying to people looking to have a good time and wanting to relax.” According to Vculek, Krush Burger’s success is due to the options they offer customers — different concepts and mix-and-match options instead of one burger.
Lee’s Deli, a sandwich shop and Chinese restaurant, opened up at University Mall in late August 2013.
Lee’s Deli started in San Francisco in 1983 as a simple sandwich shop. From there, it expanded to 14 restaurants in San Francisco, all the way from Menlo Park to the Financial District.
Lee’s Deli chose to expand to the Davis location in order to reach into the Sacramento market.
“The reason we are successful is because our food is not shipped in frozen. Every item is cooked fresh. We also have a variety of salad, Chinese food, sandwiches, drinks, snacks, cronuts and even food for breakfast. We have food for practically every meal of the day,” said Joe Tejada, an employee at Lee’s Deli.
Most people come in during lunchtime from noon to 2 p.m., and it is a mix from college students to residents.
“Food is by the pound and it is 50 percent off after 9 p.m. The most popular items on the menu are orange chicken, peppered fish with soy sauce, dim sum, dumplings, shu mai and pork buns,” Tejada said.