Viva Stories: The Wounded Warrior

“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Sunday, I popped into Viva to grab a drink.

In walked an older gentleman, wearing a “Wounded Warrior” hat. His eyes, radiating both pain and pride, told me he had stories to tell, so I got up and shook his hand.

We spent about 10 minutes talking, and I learned he had served in Vietnam. He didn’t completely understand what the war was about, only that he wanted to serve his country. He described the hostile reception he and his fellow soldiers received when they returned, and how poorly the government treated him over the years as he worked various jobs to get by while raising kids; now that he has grandkids, he’s deeply concerned about the future of the country they will inherit.

I got a little choked up when he told me that ever since he heard the story of our struggle against tyranny and corruption, he’s made it a point to stop into Viva every Sunday after church, just to support us. He thanked me (me?!) for continuing to stand. I can tell you, that is immensely humbling, knowing I and our family have endured so little compared to him! It gave me perspective on having lost my job in October and the challenge of keeping a small business open. It’s not easy, but it’s still a small price to pay for freedom.

As we left, he opened the saddlebags on his motorcycle and handed me three copies of the Constitution, in the careful manner of a priest handling a sacred text.

This man, after all he’s been through, still loves his country—not because of political ideology, but because he holds individual Freedom and Justice sacred. For him, buying a cup at our little coffee shop each week is an act of service to the American Dream. Words fail me to express what that small act means to us…It’s been a tough year for us, but people like Art keep us going and remind us our tenacity to stay open is about more than coffee and pastries. Art honors us every Sunday…and we honor him by continuing to fight for the same values he did! God bless Art and God bless America! #VivaFreedom

P.S. Art had ordered my own personal favorite, the “Killer Bee” latte. 😉

Local by Nature: Desert Spiny Lizard

Tucson’s Grumpiest Lizard

Desert Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus Magister)

Tuesday, June 18We called him “Sausage,” and boy was he a spicy little brat (wurst pun ever)! He was the grumpiest lizard we ever had (and we’ve had a lot of lizards in the Walker household)! This is how his story began…Continue reading “Local by Nature: Desert Spiny Lizard”

Brew Methods: Manual Brew (Pour Over)

Brew Methods: Manual Brew (Pour Over)

IMG_2736You may recognize this particular glass pitcher because you’ve seen it in episodes of Mary Tyler Moore, Friends (we’re dating ourselves, we know), or Mad Men. It’s a Chemex brewer and is one of two styles of manual brews we currently offer in our shop. The other choice we have is a Hario V60.

In recent years, the manual brew (or pour over) method has started to make a comeback, and for good reason. The different types of manual brew methods available create a delicious cup of coffee, and are especially good for highlighting nuances and tasting notes in single origin coffees like the ones we carry by Presta Coffee Roasters. Both the Chemex and V60 create different cups of coffee, even using the same bean. It’s fun to experiment to see which one produces a cup of coffee that you enjoy.

Both of these methods are brewed, you guessed, by hand using no automated equipment. We prepare our equipment for brewing and grind each cup just before we brew to ensure the freshest cup. At Viva we use the pulse pour method (meaning we bloom, and then do three separate pours and let the water filter down through the bed of coffee each time before the next pour. We chose this method simply for workflow purposes, but the continuous pour is also fun to do!).



Manual brewing can be very technical, and while there is a lot of science going on during the brew process, it doesn’t have to be out of reach. At Viva Coffee House, we love to provide delicious coffee using the most current, science-based techniques, but we also like it to be friendly to everyone. Next time you come in, chat up our friendly baristas about your favorite brew methods or feel free to ask them questions. They won’t bite, we promise 😉

Interested in bringing a pour over method to your home kitchen? You can certainly purchase the best of the best equipment (scales and kettles), or you can keep it simple with more budget-friendly, but still industry-respected equipment from Amazon. If you practice you will succeed in making delicious coffee at home. You can also join one of our monthly Brew Better Coffee At Home Class to get hands-on help in learning best practices (see the events page for more details and to reserve your space in the upcoming class). We hope you find this information useful.

What’s your favorite way to brew coffee? Tell us in the comments below!