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Door County Coffee & Tea Company Continues Flavored Coffee Tradition

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Fans of flavored coffee are likely familiar with the Door County Coffee & Tea Company (5773 Highway 42, Sturgeon Bay). Formed in 1993, the business has developed a reputation as an enormous flavor house and has grown their lines of flavored and non-flavored coffee. They’ve also added premium teas, a café and a retail component with gourmet products produced by Door County artisans.

Door County Coffee founder and CEO Vicki Wilson says as of mid-October, their line of autumn flavors was nearly depleted. “Our loyal fans cannot wait until the fall flavors are out, which happens in early August.” However, customers are already looking forward to their holiday line, which is out now.

New for the 2022 holiday season is Naughty or Nice, dubbed as having “a little naughty and nice in each sip.” The blend has flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg and dark rum.

Returning favorites include the Door County Christmas blend, with spicy, aromatic hints of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. “It’s one of our tried and true flavors,” Wilson says. White Christmas packs a punch of vanilla, and Candy Cane has a lively peppermint flavor. The Mistle Toe Mocha blend is a minty mocha, and Jingle Bell Java features the aroma and taste of toasted pecans with caramel, vanilla and cinnamon.

Several signature flavors are available year-round, such as Highlander Grogg, a low acidic, medium roasted coffee flavored with Irish cream with caramel, and the non-flavored Breakfast Blend, a medium roast of Colombia and Costa-Rican grown coffee. Death’s Door, introduced in 2003, is a dark roast blend with beans from Costa Rica and Sumatra. It’s named after Death’s Door, a strait located between the mainland of Door County and Washington Island, where a series of shipwrecks are located.

Door County Coffee recently launched a line of canned cold brew coffees in three flavors: Cinnamon Bun, Vanilla Crème Brulee and Brownie Batter, in 11-ounce cans. “The coffee is actually steeped in cold water for about 15 hours, with no heat applied. That creates a wonderful, flavored concentrate that you can add water to,” Wilson explains. “But what makes ours different from ready-to-drink varieties is that we don’t add sugar, cream or other additives to make it highly caloric—it’s just great flavored coffee that’s healthier. People can add their own milk or sugar.”

Wilson says they will introduce additional cold brew flavors in 2023.

Navigating Through the Pandemic

For a year-plus, the pandemic ground tourism to a halt, leaving the quant streets and roads of Door County towns near-vacant. Like everyone else, Door County Coffee was forced to close the café for safety, but Wilson says they were able to maintain their full staff and kept them busy painting, redecorating and helping in the wholesale division.

“Their labor was deployed elsewhere,” Wilson says. “They also helped our wholesale division pack, fill and ship orders. The business exploded from the e-commerce standpoint because people weren’t shopping in stores, businesses were closed and employees were home, but they still had to get their coffee from somewhere. Fortunately, our business really spiked during that time, and we’ve been fortunately to maintain that.”

Wilson says the staff had to make some modifications to the menu because of supply chain issues, but they still focus on homemade soups, hearty sandwiches, bakery, coffee, espresso and coffee drinks, along with capturing the New England-esque experience Door County has to offer.

The retail component highlights the who’s-who of the Door County foodie scene, such as Seaquist Orchards cherry jams and jellies, Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant’s pancake mixes and syrups, and Cherry De-Lite Door County Cherry Vinaigrette dressings.

“Door County is really a little bit of a step back and a step forward,” Wilson concludes. “It remains the same from a beauty and a historic standpoint, but it has so many new things that attract young people and adventure seekers. We’re thrilled to work, play and live here.”

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