last weekend i did a caffeine crawl.
it is exactly what you think it is – like a pub crawl, but COFFEE.
the crawl that i attended is organized by The LAB and hosted by an impressive number of San Diego coffee industry businesses – not just the shops and roasters, but even importers whose names might never see the light of grocery store aisles or cafe track lighting.
importers such as InterAmerican Coffee. they were stop #1 on my route.
located on J Street in downtown san diego, their.. office? space? is BEAUTIFUL.
even packed full of crawlers (as are called those individuals partaking in the crawl), the industrial building with its high ceilings, vintage posters, antique and now strictly-decorative furnishings, and other relics could not be missed.
impeccable interior design taste aside, InterAmerican knows their STUFF and they took their time to inform us on the journey of coffee, from crop to cup, and where and how they fit in.
aside from just shipping the beans, InterAmerican’s team is also well-versed in tasting, and they invited us to attempt to do what their tasters (Q testers) do best.
it’s called “cupping” – taking a sample roast and observing its characteristics: aroma, body, flavors. think of Q testers as the sommeliers of coffee. this process is critical for InterAmerican – who pride themselves on providing only the world’s finest, high-quality, specialty green coffee.
admittedly, to my untrained nose and mouth, i couldn’t pick out the subtleties in any one cup alone. in fact i only felt confident in making comparative observations – “this one tastes brighter,” “this feels more balanced.”
kudos to the talented team at InterAmerican for making great tasting coffee from all around the world accessible to simple folk like me. and special shout out to Dana, who was so engaging I was able to retain what I’ve written here.
there were 5 more stops on our crawl route, and i’ll try to write more about them later.
but for anybody interested, The LAB has been organizing Caffeine Crawls since 2012, and have now organized events, collaborating with businesses in over 15 cities, with over 15 events in 2016 alone.
their next caffeine crawl will happen across Houston in mid-february, then they go to OKC and Tulsa in march. this has been my second hometown crawl, and i would definitely be down to travel to catch them in another city. as a local, i can say it’s a great way to discover places you might never have otherwise stopped in, and as a tourist i can only imagine it’s an easy way to jump into a new city.