Vesta Coffee, Las Vegas, NV
1114 S Casino Center Blvd #1, Las Vegas, NV 89104
I’ll spill the beans early. The Arts District is my favorite borough of Las Vegas. It’s studded with so many gems. Antique stores, vintage clothing, record shops AND GREAT COFFEE. Many of the buildings are splattered with graffiti, but it’s graffiti of a legitimate artistic variety. Some walls are strewn with painted murals from local artists. It screams of Vegas pride. I’d recommend Vegas visitors dedicate at least half a day to peruse the shops up and down South Main Street and then pop over to South Casino Boulevard for great coffee. The strip is great, but this place is truly unique and it’s got one of the best coffee shops in town.
Vesta Coffee is one of the few coffee shops in Vegas who roasts their own coffee. And here, Jerad Howard, the founder and owner, has given Coffee Hunch readers a story behind the coffee.
Vesta grew out of the kitchen of Jerad Howard.
I was an avid home-roaster. Roasting batches for friends and family. It slowly grew, and I created a website to sell online and wholesale. I started fulfilling orders out of my kitchen, and then thought: Wow, this may work! We started working on the concept and project in late 2014 early 2015. And after a year we opened on 01 Dec 2016. Up until Sept that year, I was working my day job.
More often than not, coffee shops dig in their roots first as wholesale coffee roasters. Interestingly enough, Howard and his team had originally ONLY planned to sell wholesale; however, they were in a great location and they had an incredible opportunity to present their coffee in the way they envisioned it. Though Vegas has seen a rise in coffee shops, few of them are true ‘specialty coffee’ shops. Howard wanted to stand out. So, his team set up a roaster in the back, designed a cafe space, and built a simple food menu. It turned into a huge success. Naturally, he’s happy they choose to do all three. The diversity at Vesta - their coffee, their own beans and their simple, yet delicious food offerings - make them unique.
Location, Location, Location
Vegas is not what you call small business friendly. Yet, Vesta is thriving in it. As Howard explains,
Vegas is a hard city for small businesses. Vegas locals get access to a lot of great food, drink, and experiences at a relatively low cost. So, we are not impressed very easily. I think you really have to work extremely hard and be unique to stand out. We chose the Arts District because we live downtown. It's our neighborhood, and we want to contribute to the success and growth of it.
And the name?
There is, of course, meaning behind the shop’s name. As Howard describes:
Vesta is a roman goddess, and symbolizes hearth, home, and family. We want to set the stage for our customers to be welcome and part of our family. The hearth represents the coffee roasting aspect.
The Coffee, Itself
First, let’s talk about the beans. Vesta is at the top of the charts in terms of how they select their coffees. They work with trusted importers AND dually maintain direct trade relationships with coffee farmers. Currently, Vesta is featuring a special round of Colombian coffees that were cultivated through Howard’s fairly recent travels. Howard traveled to Narino, Colombia to assist in judging the Best Cup Competition. The competition featured coffees from all over Colombia and after three days of scoring and HUNDREDS of coffees, the top 15 went to auction. Vesta secured the top three beans and now feature those roasts in the shop (pictured above). As Howard puts it:
It's great because it shows farmers and the community that we are willing to pay good money for beautiful top-lot coffees. And that the hard work and diligence by these farmers pays off. We also just purchased the the complete harvest from one of our favorite farms in El Salvador. Our volume has increased immensely, which enabled us to work directly with them. We hope to continue to purchase their coffee for years to come!
One peek at the menu (pictured above) and you’ll see, Vesta has everything. Espresso options are here, cold brew and nitro options are here, AND pour-overs are here. Basically, the gangs all here folks! My favorite part? Vesta features a single origin menu for their pour-overs. The pour-overs come in beautiful, minimalistic ceramic mugs (pictured below). The mugs are a collaboration with Tiny Badger Ceramics out of San Diego, beautifully slipcast with raw pigmented clay and glazed on the interior with white.
Their specialty drinks are SOMETHING ELSE. Six months into pregnancy, I’ve been attempting to limit my caffeine intake to 200 mg, so I’ve been on the look out for coffee alternatives. In total, I have now tried Vesta’s Turmeric Latte and their Miso-Honey Latte. Both were pretty dang delicious. I couldn’t resist the chance to try miso in a drink (tastes like caramel with the honey!) and the Turmeric Latte was perfect — it wasn’t sweetened too much so you could get all the good flavor.
Instant Coffee, Say What?
You heard right. Single-origin instant coffee. All you need is water. The coffee grounds come encased in a tea bag, which gets steeped for a good five minutes (don’t risk understeeping it) and produces a flavorful cup of coffee on the go.
The sweet barista offered me one of their instant coffee bags to trial. I thought it was so good, I came back and bought 20 bags. I shipped out 15 to Coffee Hunch readers and kept five for myself. They were super ideal for camping trips to Bryce Canyon and Zion. No equipment required. I have a couple saved up for upcoming travel days that I’m eager to try again.
Vesta goes beyond the specialty coffee house stereotypes with their foodie menu. They’ve created a simple, yet delicious set of options. Toast options, sandwich options and a toss of soups, salads and parfaits to keep hungry guests happy. The menu is extensive enough to support a friend meet-up for breakfast, but it’s paired down enough so they staff can manage without skimping on quality.
Vesta has the chic, minimalist and cozy look on lock. Their gold, black and white interior is simple enough to not be overwhelming, but glowy and cozy enough to not seem uninviting. It’s bedecked with white subway tile and white-painted brick and contrasted by dark concrete floors and dark black walls. It’s the kind of place that stays fairly busy with regulars and visitors alike, many of which are perched for the long haul.
The Bottom Line
Vesta Coffee should rank at the top of Vegas’ specialty coffee scene. They’re doing a superb job at both roasting AND serving excellent coffee. Plus, the baristas are the friendliest in town. Vesta’s relationships with growers at origin has them standing at the cusp of the fourth wave of coffee movement and they’re doing it with such style. The specialty drink options, food menu and vibe have made them a local favorite amongst folks who aren’t even quite sure of what ‘specialty coffee’ means. However, their riding that wave without letting go of their passion for producing and serving quality brew. I returned three times after my first visit. I couldn’t get enough of it. I can almost guarantee you’ll do the same after your first visit.