This is an update to my May 12, 2023 Post below.
Café Santa Rosa has relocated to the Betty Jane Brimmer Center for the Performing Arts in Peoria Heights, IL. The Grand Opening event took place on September 9, 2023.
This new location provides much more space to hang out and enjoy your coffee or the expanded pastry and bagel menu, meet with a group, host a meeting, or attend hosted events. The beautiful space includes a large room upstairs and stage area on the main floor.
I stopped by recently and Marta is very excited about the new location and how it is furthering their success. I thank her for allowing me to share more photos.
May 12, 2023
I’m always drawn to visit establishments that have a unique or interesting story. I have read several articles about and knew I needed to visit, Café Santa Rosa.
What is the story? I’ll get into that later, but first a few things about the café.
Café Santa Rosa is a quaint place with a small outdoor sitting area with a modest sized sign at the entrance. Once you step inside, you are greeted by Marta and her staff. You can tell the regular customers, because they are called by name in their greetings.
The counter where the magic happens is at the far end of the room. To the left as you enter is a wall of live plants, and to the right is a wall displaying local art. Although, many customers take their order to go, the café is comfortable and quiet, and a great place to just sit an relax and slow down.
The menu includes a wide variety of espressos, brewed coffees, teas, and tea & coffee mocktails. In addition, they offer a small selection of baked goods in the counter display.
Now on to the story: Marta Vidal, mentioned earlier, is a former Peoria Public Schools teacher, turned Owner and General Manager of Café Santa Rosa, which opened in March 2020. Over 14 years ago she and her family purchased a 25-acre farm with 60,000 coffee trees in El Hato, Columbia. Of course, you instantly think “Columbia and coffee, where’s the story?”
What makes Marta and her family unique is their relationship with the more than two dozen farmers, mostly women, who work the farm in Columbia. After purchasing the farm and getting to know the workers and their struggles, they realized they could bring the coffee to America, roast it, and sell it and in doing so, be able to give back to their workers, beyond their paychecks; and they do so in several ways.
One past quote from Marta has been, “We’re able to help mitigate their disadvantages, economic disadvantages in Colombia”.
Some of their generosity includes providing running water to their farmer’s houses and getting a single mother farmer a washing machine. Marta dreams of getting washing machines for all her employees. They have also been able to provide free health care clinics for the workers.
These are stories worth sharing.
For my first visit I chose to try the Aeropress Coffee, which is finely ground coffee steeped for one minute and pressed. I requested the dark roast, black, and it was excellent; very smooth and no bitterness. Of course I had to also try the walnut and cranberry scone. I’m looking forward to returning to try even more of the coffee selections.