Atlanta is fortunate to have two major coffee roasters in town who are more than happy to give the coffee-drinking masses opportunities to learn more about beans and brewing. Counter Culture Coffee, who supplies places like Octane with a variety of beans, has weekly “cuppings” – every Friday at 10am – at their King Plow Arts Center facility. And YOU are invited. It’s a fun experience, and you will definitely learn a few things from David and the crew – each week is different depending on what beans are coming in the door. A few hours later each Friday (1pm), across town in Decatur at their Dancing Goats Coffee Bar, Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters is running their own cuppings – and you’re invited to those, too.
Now, if that’s not enough, both of those roasters also go above and beyond with other learning opportunities every once and a while. Batdorf & Bronson just so happened to offer a free “Coffee 101” tour of their roasting facility this week, and Thirsty South was there to learn from Jason, “head of Bean Knowledgy.” We learned about the primary coffee growing regions, the microlot challenges in Ethiopia right now, processing and roasting techniques, and most importantly got to witness “coffee-roasting Elvis.” Actually, Jason probably topped Elvis with some highly caffeinated insights – where else will you get a comparison of Central American vs. African coffees as a battle between Bob Marley and Mike Tyson? You heard me – Central American coffees tend to go in the direction of laid-back, mellow flavors; while African coffees tend towards “all up in your face, bite your ears off” power. Don’t believe me? Give a few of the different Batdorf & Bronson coffees a spin, and see if you can spot Iron Mike.
Here are a few photos to give you a feel for the Batdorf & Bronson roasting facility. First up, industrial chic on Carroll Street off Marietta Road:
Beans – some very happy and buzzed “trash cans”, followed by Ethiopian Harar ready to brew (good stuff, we tasted this at the end of the tour):
And to top it off, the veritable crema on the espresso, a collage: (clockwise from upper right) pouring into the aeropress, Jason demonstrating superior pumping action, “coffee-roasting Elvis,” and a beautiful machine – the Probat small batch roaster: