Component Coffee Lab brings big city flair, community values to Downtown Visalia
University researchers say coffee can help people achieve better scores on math tests, if they do this with it. Buzz60
Jonathon Anderson and Greg Amend had one mission opening Component Coffee Lab in Downtown Visalia: “To pour the best cup of coffee in town.”
The jury is still out on whether the business partners have succeeded, but if their consistently full parking lot and seating area — a behemoth 1,500 square foot industrial space on 513 E. Center St. (just off of Santa Fe Street) — is any indication, the Visalia natives are doing something right. (Component also has an entrance from Main Street through its patio.)
Amend and Anderson bring over a decade of combined coffee experience to Visalia. Anderson spent years as a Starbucks barista, while Amend won accolades as one of Fresno’s leading coffee luminaries with his Slow Train roasting operation.
They’re joined by fellow co-owners Miguel and Mikayla Reyes, who started Quesadilla Gorilla, another fixture of downtown dining.
Together, the four are serving specialty coffee and eats the likes of which Visalia has not yet seen, with an inviting atmosphere to match.
The shop’s signature drink, for instance, is an espresso tonic: Topo Chico topped with a lightly roasted Peruvian espresso shot. It’s a bold but simple concoction that’s particularly refreshing on a sweltering summer day.
Component have all the traditional bases covered, too, with Americanos, sweet lattes, fresh drip coffee, and an assortment of teas.
“We source high quality beans from sustainably operated farms, who are paying their workers above-average wages, throughout Central and South America,” Amend said.
This concept applies to all of Component’s ingredients. Their eggs and fruit come from the farmers market, for example, and their milk is delivered fresh from Tulare’s Top O’ The Morn Farms.
Amend’s roasting expertise is matched by the establishment’s cutting edge espresso machine, the Slayer 17. This Seattle-built beauty allows Component baristas unprecedented control over critical brewing variables such as extraction, pressure, time, and weight.
Geekery aside, the result is a smooth cup of joe that even those who don’t identify as coffee snobs will appreciate, for prices comparable to big chains like Starbucks.
Prior to Component’s late-June grand opening at the Center Street location, Anderson and Amend could be seen carting their fancy Slayer 17 espresso machine around the Downtown Visalia Farmers Market, serving drinks to curious shoppers.
“We wanted to build hype and give people in the community a chance to see what we were all about,” Anderson said .
The gambit paid off.
Amend and Anderson were unprepared for the success Component’s physical location saw right out of the gate. They attribute their success to their “focus on executing one idea very well.”
This single-minded devotion applies to the kitchen, as well. Miguel and Mikayla translate their monomania from quesadillas to donuts with predictably delicious results.
“We had a layover in Portland last year, so we chanced a visit to Voodoo Donuts, and they were amazing,” Miguel said. “We realized Visalia had no place like it.”
In February, the couple returned to Portland for what sounds like a dream vacation: A donut tour of the city. Upon returning, however, they went to work in the kitchen to perfect a variety of eclectic and classic flavors.
Miguel can arrive as early as 4 a.m. on busier days to prepare an assortment of donuts, including current favorites strawberry and raspberry mint.
Beginning in September, Component will offer a seasonal donut menu that changes with each month. Patrons can look forward to a PB&J donut with house-made plum jam — just in time for the back-to-school crowd.
Component also offers a weekend brunch menu from 8 a.m.to 11 a.m. featuring staples with a unique twist.
The Reyes’ take on a breakfast burrito, for example, features sunny-side up eggs instead of scrambled and a chipotle sour cream. Their Nashville-inflected fried chicken and waffles, meanwhile, comes served in a waffle cone with maple whiskey syrup drizzled on top.
The four co-owners met through attending Radiant Church just next door to Component. Though they barely knew each other at the time, Anderson had attended the Reyes’ wedding five years ago. The party favors? Amend’s coffee beans.
This week, the Reyeses celebrate both the birth of a new child and a successful second Downtown Visalia venture.
“It’s all come full circle,” Miguel said. “We couldn’t be happier.”
Anderson hopes Component can be a hub for the community, similar to the role the church has played in his own life. He envisions people of all faiths — or none — united around a great cup of coffee.
It’s a vision that seems fully realized only two months out from Component’s launch: snuggling couples and frazzled students share tables with Kaweah Hospital employees and retired schoolteachers; oil paintings from staff and community members line the interior walls; music from a personal record collection fills the room.
“I don’t just come for the coffee,” said Danny Sciacqua, a recently retired Porterville College professor and Component regular.”I’m here for the atmosphere, the ambiance and the staff, who are all polite and fun to talk with”
“But the delicious donut holes and pour over don’t hurt, either.”