by Kyle Simmons
The Specialty Coffee Association holds an expo annually to allow coffee professionals and enthusiasts to get together, learn from each other, see new products, and drink lots of coffee. This year, the expo was held in Seattle, so Kevin and I got on a plane bound for America's coffee Mecca.
One of my specific goals for this trip was to get an idea of how other coffee companies are conducting their education programs. Noble Coyote began offering public cuppings and brew classes in January of 2017. Our class sizes have grown from 3-5 people to over 20 in the past year. I wanted to learn how to grow our education program by attending lectures given by some experienced coffee educators. Jennifer Haare and Amy Moore of Ipsento Coffee in Chicago gave an excellent lecture about making coffee education engaging and fun. I also attended a panel discussion about mentorship within the coffee industry. The panel discussed the impact mentorship can have on baristas' careers. I look forward to applying what I learned in these lectures to the education program at Noble Coyote. I think everyone will be excited to see us continue offering fun, accessible, and interesting classes.
Of course no coffee trip would be complete without visiting some local shops. In Seattle, it's hard to not get coffee. We did see the Starbucks Reserve roastery, and I have to say that it is a monument to coffee. It's a really cool place that seems to be packed with tourists every hour it's open. Right down the street is Victrola Coffee where I got an impeccable cappuccino: the foam was like marshmallow fluff yet somehow not too dry? It reminded me I need to practice my steaming skills. At a shop called Ghost Note, owner Christos is pulling some amazing shots from roasters across the country. Ghost Note only offers espresso – no pour overs or drip – and it is done very well. Before we left Seattle, we had to hit up Anchorhead. I got really caffeinated before our flight with a delicious shot of Yirgacheffe natural followed by a pretty fruit forward Guatemalan pour over.
Overall, it was a fun trip full of learning and good coffee. It's my hope that all of you can reap the benefits of our growth. If you're going to Seattle and need a coffee recommendation, be sure to ask us!