Alpen Sierra coffee owner pours last cup of java |

Alpen Sierra coffee owner pours last cup of java

Christian Waskiewicz wants to keep the coffee business brewing in town. But the Alpen Sierra owner-operator is ready to move on to capitalize on the perks of a successful business.

To focus on training others to follow in his footsteps, Waskiewicz, 39, plans to sell his two specialty coffee shops – one located just east of Stateline on U.S. Highway 50 and the other on Emerald Bay Road near the “Y”.

“What I’ve found over the last three years is that I have (had) a lot of people coming to me to ask: ‘Hey, can you help me do what you’re doing?” he said. “It’s time for me to pass the torch on the retail stores.”

The coffee chemist put the two-store package on the market in July, which includes the award-winning Alpen Sierra Coffee Co. name and license. He’ll sell the two stores separately or as a package for about $450,000. He expects to make a “seamless transition” because he feels an obligation to the community. Waskiewicz brought his specialty brewing operation to town in 1991.

During the last decade, the retail and wholesale business put Alpen Sierra on the map, with coffee drinkers consuming the coffee brewed locally across the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom.

Still, Alpen Sierra is no Starbucks, and he doesn’t want it to be either. He envisions continuing the mail-order operation that has taken off in the last five years, targeting the Internet home user.

The Christmas Valley resident has re-evaluated his place in the world, professionally and personally. Beyond his plans to help coffee business start-ups, he’s also engaged to be married in June.

As for the future of the stores, the 23 employees are part of the deal, he said. The “roast master” is also adding a “cyber bar” with three computers at the Stateline location for the many European customers who like to drink and communicate afar.

Waskiewicz understands. The El Dorado County native has split his time between here and Germany, where his family and second language thrives.

The local businessman is self-taught in the coffee business, with seminars assisting with his continuing education. What he’s found in the Tahoe region is the benefit of high altitude on coffee brewing, he said, without disclosing the secrets of his formula.

Another discovery – there appears to be an interest in his retail business from dot-comers visiting the area. They need to be willing to relinquish “the big profit” for the quality of life though, he said.

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