Coffee lessons

Brown Dog Press has relocated to the Chapel Hill area this week for a break from our routine. Our editorial staff is attending the Jane Austin Seminar at UNC. That left time for our other crew members to explore the area. First stop was coffee a tasting course offered by Carrboro Roasting Co. They offer Saturday courses on various subjects through out the year at their headquarters in Carrboro. This past Saturday “Coffee Tasting Around the World” was given. It was very well done with four single origin coffees tasted and discussed along with a talk on tasting coffee in general lead by an engaging instructor. Courses are held in a small classroom in the back of the Roaster’s Open Eye Café. There is a charge but that was not a bad thing. About 10 people attended. The small size made it very manageable for the instructor and facilitated discussion among the students. At the completion of the event we were given an 8 oz bag of one of the coffees tasted. Well worth the $30 course fee. Several future courses look good. We will be back. Courses on offer are listed here

Durham is the home to Counter Culture Coffee, an artisanal roaster with national reach. In addition to supplying single origin coffees on a grand scale, Counter Culture operates ten training centers around the country. These function largely to train wholesale clients in coffee appreciate and service but on Fridays are open to the general public for courses.

The classrom at Counter Culture’s Durham facility

The course this past Friday was on coffee tasting. The event was free and so attendance was larger at 40 or so. That changed the dynamic and scope of the event. We tasted two coffee blends – one as drip coffee passed out on arrival and the other in a communal cupping. There was also a brief lecture by one the CC’s educators about their coffee sources and their program to aid growers. We were also given the opportunity to look in on the roasting plant just behind the classroom with a second talk on their roasting process. It was a fun look into the company. The coffee tasting experience was fairly superficial but it was free. Other aspect of the experience made it worthwhile. Glad to have done it, probably won’t do it again.

The roasting plant

We did learn that it might be possible to get in on the more involved courses for their wholesale clients if spots go unfilled. That is valuable information to tuck away. Also came away with a small poster of their coffee tasting wheel purchased in the company shop for $8. The poster will find a spot on the Brown Dog office wall once we are back home.