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Creating an ‘Identity’ in Sacramento’s Coffee Scene

Sacramento is a booming city for the artisan coffee movement. Popular cafes line the streets similar to how Starbucks crowds the pavements of other cities. A Sacramento local can walk from Temple to Insight to Naked Lounge and hit up multiple artisan coffee shops that serve the best brew with carefully sourced coffee.

Among the newest additions to the Sacramento coffee scene is Identity Coffee, which opened in April. The shop is co-founded by Lucky Rodrigues, one of the mastermind’s behind Insight Coffee. A now-previous co-owner of Insight, Rodrigues left the coffee company last fall to spend more time with his family.

But it didn’t take long for another coffee venture to start brewing and for the 31-year-old to succeed in establishing yet another identity in the Sacramento coffee scene.

Opening the company with friend Ryan Rake, Rodrigues’ inspiration when creating Identity’s model was his 17 years of working in the coffee industry.

“Identity Coffee is really based on the concept of being in an independent family owned company forever,” said Rodrigues. “A couple key things about our model is that everyone…plays a role in every facet of the coffee industry at large. What’s unique about that is all of our employees are kind of one status. We all eventually run the company together–all the way from working with the farmers from origin to running the cafe.”

Essentially, the baristas who make the drink also roast the beans and source the coffee.

The layout of Identity has a large open floor plan and a long bar where customers can watch the roasting process happen in real time. The menu boasts only the simplest options: Coffee, Espresso, Latte, Cappuccino and Cold Brew.

Rodrigues says that they roast all of their coffee on site so the customer can see the whole process.

“We got a 4500 sq foot building that’s all open floor plan so you can literally sit at the bar and we’re ten feet away roasting our coffee. We store all of our green coffees here, we roast them, and brew them 20 ft away in our cafe.”

Rodrigues did not plan on continuing to work in the coffee industry after leaving Insight. In addition to spending more time with his roost of six kids, Rodrigues also wanted to focus on another passion: woodworking and custom metal fabrication. Luckily with Identity, Rodrigues was able to explore a new venture in coffee while designing his own space and creating the woodwork in the cafe.

As cafe guest will quickly discover, Identity is Rodrigues’ effort to combine two passions: both coffee and woodworking working together.

Identity Coffee is open from 7AM-7PM and is located at 1430 28th Street. Stay up to date with Identity happenings at facebook.com/identitycoffees.

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Identity has a large space to relax or work or host events. Sourced beans and the roasting equipment are also visible in the open layout.

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A manifestation of another of Rodrigues’ passions

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Photos by Bethany Harris

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About the author

Kasey Furutani

Originally from the Los Angeles area, Kasey is a graduate from UC Davis and is interested in discovering new and unique businesses, foods and places around the world. In her spare time, she shoots film photography, cooks vegetarian food and pets cats.

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