Last week Columbus welcomed writers from the Midwest Travel Writers Association, and I got to host them for breakfast and help lead a coffee/beer tour. I also pitched in with a shorter tour of Short North called “Candles and Cupping,” starting at the Candle Lab and journeying by foot to a couple neighborhood coffee shops.
Candle Lab sells their own candles and lets you create your own. You can smell around the shop, choose and mix fragrances, decorate your own label, and then pour the oils and stir it all together. I made one titled “Our Backyard” (the label was super awesome, I promise).
The visiting writers all created their own candles, then we went on a stroll while the candles set.
We had two coffee stops to make. The first took us to One Line Coffee, where Mick Evans led us through a coffee cupping. A cupping is the process professionals use to taste and evaluate coffees.
The cupping first involved smelling freshly five freshly ground coffee roasts.
We then applied hot water to smell them brewing.
And then we got to taste.
It was a new experience for almost everyone involved, and Mick masterfully led the group – which consisted of people with varying degrees of interest and familiarity with coffee – through the cupping. It’s different than simply sipping different coffees; you’re trying to engage with the roasts on many different levels, and compare them (three from Africa, two from Latin America) side-by-side. (P.S. One Line hosts cuppings every Sunday afternoon – just sign up through their site.)
Our third stop took us to Mission Coffee Co. to talk about roasting. We also tasted a lovely Kenyan coffee while we were there.
It was one of those wonderful spring days where the garage doors are thrown wide open.
At Mission, Joe and Hans took us through the roasting process. They demonstrated by roasting a small batch of coffee, and showcased it with some of the latest technology. The program they use reads data from the roaster in real time, so they can track the progress and make adjustments on the fly. They can save the roast profile and compare it against past roasts, and better adjust the roasts for each coffee bean. Pretty cool stuff.
That was it for the tour. After our coffee excursions, we stopped back at the Candle Lab to pick up our completed candles, then hopped the C-Bus back to the Hilton.