Business Spotlight – Meet Judith Sivonda of Caffe Museo
We asked Judith a few questions, take a look at her responses below.
Can you tell us about your business?
Caffé Museo, The Museum of Antique Coffee Mills, is the only museum of its kind in the Americas. One needs to go to Seoul, S Korea or to Europe to see a comparable collection of coffee mills on public display. We have collected coffee grinders for over 30 years. The collection now exceeds 300 mills, most of them are on display. We also have an espresso bar, fair trade, direct trade coffees and organic coffees. Our beans come from an award winning roaster founded in Portland, Oregon in 1982 and from Brooklyn, NY from the oldest coffee roaster in the US; and women-owned roasters. So we serve coffees, espresso-based beverages like lattes, cappuccinos, flat whites, teas, and hot chocolates. We will put any of them on ice. The Museo also serves a breakfast wrap, paninis for lunch, gelato, pastries, savories, and of course, biscotti.
What inspired you to open Caffé Museo and how long have you been in business?
Packing and storing a collection this size felt like hoarding. No one could see and enjoy them, not even me! Twenty four years ago my friend, fellow collector and mentor, the late Michael L. White, of Lexington, and I photographed 600 coffee grinders and wrote a book. It is still in print and available at the Museo. But I still felt compelled to share that knowledge. The vision for this museum was born then, but it wasn’t until 2018 that I started putting plans to paper. Then in 2019 I enrolled in the Gauntlet. Completion of that program and the financial awards from the competition got the Museo closer to reality. We created this destination at 509 E Ridgeway St, Clifton Forge, built out the interior, installed the coffee bar equipment and opened for Fall Festival 2019.
What do you enjoy most about doing business in and supporting our Alleghany Highlands community?
Most of my customers do not live here but are traveling through on 64 or visiting. I enjoy telling them about this region, helping them plan their visit or supplying them with a reason to come back. I keep the Chamber of Commerce and Tourism pamphlets ready to share with them.
How long have you lived in Alleghany Highlands?
We moved here in 2011 from Connecticut. We were attracted by the natural beauty, the climate and the fly fishing. I also enjoy not being stuck in traffic everyday on the way to work.
Do you have any favorite things to do, places to go or dine, etc. in the Alleghany Highlands?
I am a great fan of the Clifton Forge School of the Arts. I have taught classes there since they opened the doors. I operate the Art Store as a fundraiser for the school. Alleghany Arts and Crafts Center exhibits are always worth going to see. Working on my feet seven days a week at the age of 70 is a challenge, so I don’t hike or bike, I just go home and enjoy my two dogs.
On occasion, I do enjoy a JMT brewery beer.
Thank you, Judith, for all you do!
More photos here!