Spotlight Business: Catalyst Coffee Bar

Enter the Catalyst Coffee Bar, and you’ll hear the clinking of coffee cups, the soothing hum of the espresso machine, rumble of conversations and laughter, clicking of keyboards, and light music can be heard above it all. The ambiance is welcoming and inviting, but the experience is so much more.

Karen Scheffler, from Montgomery, VT is the owner of the Catalyst Coffee Bar. She discovered a passion for coffee when she and her husband would travel and visit different coffee shops sampling brews from all over the world. Eventually, she’d take that love of coffee and bring it to Downtown Saint Albans.

In 2016, a third wave coffee shop, Catalyst Coffee Bar opened for business in its current location adjacent to Twiggs, An American Gastropub. The Catalyst offerings and vibes are different than the other shops in town.

Catalyst Coffee Bar Blog Header; siphon brewing; Karen Scheffler; iced coffee

Catalyst Coffee Bar an Exceptional Experience

Often a place where professionals meet, and friends come together, Catalyst Coffee Bar is just that, a catalyst for sharing the love of coffee and coffee bar drinks. All while bringing positive energy and encouraging niceness in times when it seems more of that is needed in the world. It’s a place where people talk about stuff, and if you spend time talking with Karen, you’ll see that the Catalyst Coffee Bar is her essence and being.

Inviting and attracting new customers, and welcoming returning customers, the shop provides an array of choices for coffee lovers and non-coffee lovers alike. While specializing in the Siphon brewing technique, which honestly is just an amazing thing to watch anyway (see below), they also offer:

  • Drip coffee / Pour Over
  • Espresso drinks
  • Matcha
  • Hot and cold tea
  • Chai
  • Hot and Spiced cocoa
  • Savouré Soda
  • Maple milk
  • Golden Latte (Turmeric Latte)

If you’ve never tried a soda made from fresh ingredients like celery, cardamom, basil, lemon and more, then you ask about the flavors on tap or in the bottle. The Savouré Soda is a beautiful experience made with wholesome ingredients.

How about a Golden Latte, if you’re into the healing properties of turmeric this could be the drink for you!

Catalyst Coffee Bar is Committed to Local Products

Above all, you can feel good about the coffee and drinks you get from the Catalyst Coffee Bar. Why? Because the roasted beans are sourced locally. The local roasters source coffee from small sustainable farms throughout the coffee belt.

Even the milk is made in Vermont and supplied by Monument Dairy. Savouré Soda is made in Bristol, VT from ingredients from the manufacturers garden, and results in a refreshing beverage for the palette.

Ultimately, it is a conscientious effort to promote and purchase supplies that have the greatest positive impact.

Catalyst Coffee Bar’s Collaboration with Local Roasters

Selecting the coffee flavor profiles and partner roasters is one of the most important aspects at the coffee bar. Catalyst has two primary brewers based in Chittenden County, VT.

Each of these roasters sources the cherries in different regions, and the result is a wide variety of tastes and flavor profiles. Coffee farmers locations offer something distinctive in climate, soil, season, and environment that impacts the flavor profile.

But how does a coffee bar select roasters? The Catalyst’s selection is based on a few things:

  • Flavor profile: ranging from a light, bursting with fruits and flowers to rich, caramel, and nutty notes
  • Roasters select the cherries from different countries and small coffee bean farmers
  • Variety of seasonal beans
  • Monthly selections in flavor profiles
  • Duration of use after roasting

Care is taken in choosing the week’s orders. After the green beans are roasted, and before they can be used ground, the roasted beans release CO2. This process could take anywhere from three to seven days.

Originally the coffee bean was sourced from one strain out of Ethiopia. Then distributed throughout the coffee belt to create and generate the vast profiles and selection we now have today.

You Can Enjoy Your Brew at Home Too

Maybe you enjoy the process and aroma of brewing at home, the Catalyst Coffee Bar, also offers Heart Coffee Roasters so you can bring home a fresh bag of beans, to grind and brew. But, here’s a piece of advice for the home brewer:

Whole roasted beans lose their best taste over time, and the Catalyst Coffee Bar recommends you use your unground beans within one month of purchase for the most enjoyable coffee experience.

How Does the Coffee Bean Go From Plant to Cup?

When was the last time you thought about where your coffee comes from? What about the methods and practiced used as it reaches your cup? Never, occasionally, always? You might be surprised to learn that coffee bars like the Catalyst are using every last bit of the coffee bean.

The full-cycle from cherry to roast looks like this:

Cycle of the coffee bean from cherry to compost

The Catalyst coffee grounds are picked up by Northwest Solid Waste District’s composting program and brought to Hudak’s Farm, just north of St. Albans for composting, returning it to the earth to enrich the soil.

The composting completes the cycle and returns the waste to the earth, maximizing the bean’s use.

Concerns for Ethical Coffee Bean Sourcing

With coffee being the second greatest traded commodity after oil & gas, it is easy for unethical and compromising business practices to occur. Uninterested in participating in these activities, many roasters and coffee shops take care to avoid these situations. By ethical sourcing, roasters make sure the coffee you consume has the most significant benefit all the way back to the seed.

As you see, there is so much to learn about coffee; stop in and see Karen and her people to educate yourself even more.

Phenomenal People Who Work at the Catalyst Coffee Bar

The baristas know as much about the coffee as she does, and together they want to be the catalyst for people who want to learn more. Discover where it comes from, why it tastes the way it does, and why supporting local coffee roasters, and small foreign coffee bean producers make a difference.

At the Catalyst Coffee Bar, the staff is accredited with being phenomenal, stepping in, and helping each other in the busiest moments. Everyone is just so kind, nice, and willing. As a matter of fact, this is what she said:

“Everybody that works here is phenomenal… I cannot get over how great it is that everyone comes together to help each other and ME out!”

Karen Scheffler

The Catalyst Coffee Bar isn’t just a place for people who love coffee, come in, and you’ll see. It’s a place of kindness and compassion that you’ll experience when you engage with the staff and customers alike. This third wave coffee bar is here for the long haul and is the catalyst for growth, education, and the experience of coffee and drinks that are sustainable and locally sourced.

“The more you know about your coffee, the more you’ll enjoy it”

Karen Scheffler
Catalyst Coffee Bar Explore the Menu CTA