I’m a coffee drinker, but not what you’d call a gourmet or aficionado. I’ve moved past the large blue and red cans in the grocery aisle, and try to buy shade-grown or fair-trade beans. This class sounded pretty interesting, and perhaps I could up my ante in the coffee-drinking world…
We met at the Charming Beard Coffee location. Levi Rogers, founder and Head Roaster of the company, was the instructor. He was very friendly and happy to answer any and all questions during the class. We were first given a brief history of coffee – did you know it was first grown in Ethiopia and then spread throughout the world from there? Levi explained how the bean is grown, and how the dirt that it is planted in can definitely add (or not!) to the final taste of the coffee. It is up to the coffee roaster (or ”sommelier”, in wine terms) to roast the beans to the proper temperature for the desired result. The longer/hotter the roast, the darker the final product. Interestingly enough, he pointed out that lighter roasts actually have more caffeine than the dark roasts!
Pulling out some green coffee beans, Levi showed us how he can tell the quality of the bagged beans by looking at how closely the beans had been sorted by the grower. If the beans are dark, or stained, or even moldy, they will go into the “lesser quality” pile (or better yet, discarded). It makes sense that good beans = good coffee, no?
We then moved on to the roasting equipment. Levi showed us how the beans are put into the roaster, and the roasting process itself. How fun to see the roasted beans spill out of the roaster onto the cooling tray! Once they are cool, they are ready to be bagged or ground into that yummy cup of coffee.
The various types of grinds – how fine the beans are ground – were explained. Depending on the type of brewing process, beans are ground into various levels of coarseness. For instance, a French press uses a coarser grind than a drip pot, and Turkish coffee uses the finest grind possible.
The class finished up by having a “cupping” – similar to a wine tasting. We could try various kinds of coffee that Levi made for us. It was a perfect ending to a very informative and fun class!
– Guest Post by Judy Kiel