Even if you haven’t heard of Batdorf & Bronson coffee, you’ve probably had their coffee before. Batdorf & Bronson coffee is served at many of the fine Atlanta restaurants you eat at every day. I’d heard about Coffee 101 through Atlanta Culinary Tours, but I’d not yet been on the tour myself. A group of friends and I were invited to a Coffee 101 class recently. And it was pretty eye-opening.
I really can’t tell you about Coffee 101 without telling you about Jason Dominy. Jason does these really cool things called coffee ambushes. He’ll go to a business and just start brewing his coffee (after being invited by someone at said company). Gradually people come in, sit down and listen to his story of why his coffee is so much better than the stuff they have been brewing. Pretty soon, he’s giving them lessons on how to brew the perfect cup of joe. Neat, huh?
I don’t want to give away too much of the class, otherwise it would spoil it and you really should go. Jason is a terrific guy doing fantastic things, and I can tell you my synopsis won’t even come close to doing Coffee 101 justice. Basically during the class, Jason educated us on the history of coffee, the process, regions where it comes from and how they differ.
There are 3 main coffee markets: Central / South America (the weakest), Africa (slightly sweet – medium bodied), Indonesia and the Pacific (strongest). We tried coffee from each of the regions and there’s definitely a distinct taste for each region. But the most interesting part for me was when we tried coffee from beans that had been around for 30 days. What a difference in taste between that and the fresher coffee we’d been tasting.
Jason shared with us that the cheaper National brands you find at the grocer won’t tell you when they were roasted because it has been so long. Hint: it is much longer than 30 days. And don’t even get him started on Starbucks, which he refers to as “Charbucks.”
Have you heard of Fair Trade before? The symbol on the packaging indicates that when you purchase coffee with this seal on it you are ensuring that the farmers are getting a fair wage for their work. Basically this comes through a co-op and they must pay to use that seal. I learned a new term at Coffee 101, Relationship Buying, which goes a step beyond Fair Trade. This process eliminates the middle man and the roasters deal directly with the farmer, ensuring he gets an even better price for his beans.