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Sacramento’s Opal Coffee Club Introducing One Coffee Gem at a Time

Camellia coffee cupping

Cupping coffees at Camillia Coffee Roasters. All photos by Matt Chong, courtesy of Camillia Coffee Roasters / Opal Coffee Club.

Sacramento, California-based Camellia Coffee Roasters has introduced an independent sub-brand called the Opal Coffee Club, designed to promote exceptional coffees that might not fit into Camellia’s normal roster. 

“While cupping coffees and finding what fits into our menu, we were coming across extraordinary coffees that we wanted to include but didn’t have a platform to showcase them properly,” Camellia Coffee Director of Coffee and Roasting Camilla Yuan told Daily Coffee News.

Camellia cafe Sacramento

Inside the new Camillia cafe and roastery in Sacramento.

The club is not exclusive. Anyone can visit the newly launched Opal Coffee Club website and purchase any coffee, while supplies last. The Opal offerings include what the company deems to be exceptional microlots or experimental lots sourced from producers employing unconventional methods. Giving such coffees their own brand is a relatively new phenomenon in the high-end specialty coffee industry. 

Opal releases will be in limited quantities on a quarterly basis, with only one coffee available at a time. The brand will maintain its own website, online store, wholesale portal and social media.

While a small number of Opal retail bags will also appear on shelves at the Camellia cafe, there will be little to no cross-posting or shared promotions.

“It’ll be completely separate entities,” said Yuan, “just so we can give both lineups for Camellia and Opal their own stage and not have them compete against each other.”

Opal Coffee Club

The first release in the Opal series is a red bourbon variety treated to anaerobic-natural processing with pineapple yeast inoculation by producer David Solano, who grew the coffee on Finca Concepción Buena Vista in San Martín Jilotepeque, Chimaltenango, Guatemala. Opal describes the coffee as presenting notes of pineapple upside down cake, chocolate-covered strawberries and glazed sugar.

While showcasing producers behind each of the coffees, the brand is also presenting coffees in the wider contexts of cocktails and food, collaborating with friends in parallel industries. For the release of David Solano’s coffee, Opal Coffee Club collaborated with Zacapa Rum for a joint tasting. 

“Coffee is an agricultural product just like wine, spirits, chocolate, etc.,” said Yuan. “We’re interested in how it can inspire or be incorporated into cocktails and food, and thus the greater food and beverage industry.”

coffee and rum

Camellia Coffee was founded in 2016 by Ryan Harden and Rob Watson as a roasting operation before opening its first cafe in Sacramento two years later. In 2022, the cafe relocated into a larger location, which as of last year also houses the roastery. 

Today, Yuan roasts all coffees for Camellia and for Opal on a Probat P12. A coffee from Vietnam is slated to arrive later this Spring for the next release in the Opal series.

“For Opal, we’ll only be releasing one coffee at a time, and definitely want to give that coffee enough time to shine and for folks to get to know it,” said Yuan. “I want to give Guatemala its platform and time before giving more of a clue of the Vietnam coffee that’s coming on next.”

Camellia Opal roasting

Opal Coffee Club will be featuring the Guatemala Concepción Buena Vista coffee at the SCA Expo in Chicago this year at the Slayer booth #1231 on Friday, April 12, from 10-11 a.m. Find DCN’s complete 2024 Expo coverage here

Comments? Questions? News to share? Contact DCN’s editors here.

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