Elite Event: Backstage Pass to Brewing
1530 Carroll Drive NW
Atlanta, GA 30318 USA
I am so utterly flattered to have a Yelp event custom-made for *me*! Or at least it felt that way even before I met the people of Batdorf & Bronson. Now I *know* it was custom made for me.
I remember reading many vehement discussions about establishing a "consumer class" membership to the Specialty Coffee Association of America. I was a poor grad student, so I was only reading then. The push to open membership to us home folk was difficult, and Mike Ferguson was a champion for the idea on the SCAA board. I honestly had forgotten about much of that until *MEETING HIM TODAY*! WOO-HOO! Then as now, he's a voice for us lowly "pro-am" consumers, and he's Batdorf & Bronson's business development director right here! (Little late edit: I didn't recognize him. This came up while we chatted. And all y'all know *I'm* not the one who started up a conversation. He invited me to look around the roasters when he saw me peeking.)
And then the roasters and brewers… Many of those who went on the tour may not have realized what they offered. Aaron Shively opened their cupping sessions to the public, even when they're experimenting with roasts. That shows both confidence in their own abilities and an honest interest in the community at large. I'm looking forward to visiting one when I can (possibly teaming up with Heather N's husband for courage). Jason Dominy showed his hard-core, award-winning brewing method. The other brewers (I apologize for not catching names!) also were excellent and very, *very* open to explaining their methods and their reasons.
Being this open is, um, not entirely common; many people want to keep their magic to themselves.
I loved being able to compare a single origin Yirgacheffe in two utterly different ways. They're right that this roast via an espresso brew would make an amazing cappuccino. I tend to prefer a really, really light hand on my Yirgacheffe and Harar roasts, but I also roast only for myself and can risk screwing up my tiny batches. I expect the espresso brewing, however, would only work this Full City (-ish, I'm splitting hairs) roast.
Another little thing that I didn't hear otherwise mentioned: B&B supports Coffee Kids ( http://www.coffeekids.org/ ), a charity working to improve the lives of coffee-raising families through health care, education, and even microloans.
So this Yelp event accomplished perhaps one of the most difficult aspect of these events: putting people in contact with each other. Other cool coffee bit of which I learned indirectly today: http://atlantadisloyal…/ , a card that encourages trying many different coffee shops. Love the idea…
On the non-coffee side: Imperial Fez's pastries go wonderfully with a fruity coffee. Maison Roberts is Maison Roberts: well-executed chocolate work that's appropriate for a wide range of tastes. They're well-known for that, and this is what you'd expect. The little plain cookies that weren't eaten up served as pretty good palate cleansers between coffee tastings, too.