Taking the Roastery Tour at Blue Bottle Coffee
I’m a coffee snob. I hate to admit it but it’s true. I’m totally done with Starbucks, Peet’s just fell by the wayside and I’ve never been able to stomach the stuff in a can. But give me a coffee bar with a limited menu, high quality beans and, um, a higher price point and I’m there. I’ve got my favorite spots all over SoCal. There’s Rose Park Roasters in Long Beach, Portola in OC and Blue Bottle in LA.
Speaking of Blue Bottle…last time I was there ordering my drink I noticed a sign mention free roastery tours. Hmm…I love a good tour and I definitely like the word free…sure, I’ll sign up. Easier said than done. When I checked the website the entire month was full. Turns out the tour is pretty popular. So, as soon as July rolled around I rechecked and managed to snag a spot. Last Sunday I headed down and checked it out.
Blue Bottle currently has five LA locations with the roastery located in the Arts District. Determined to provide customers with the freshest coffee possible the location roasts beans weekly and distributes them to the surrounding shops. On our visit we were able to go behind the scenes and view the roaster – a 1956 Probat that still works like a charm.
We also learned all about the coffee making process from farm to cup. Our guide, Kaelen, has a true passion for coffee and her enthusiasm made for an interesting discussion about its harvesting. We learned where coffee is grown, its various qualities, the difference between washed and dried and so much more. We also were able view the bean in its various stages and sample a freshly roasted one.
Of course, what’s a tour without samples and after our discussion we headed to the bar to try some freshly brewed beans. But this would be no ordinary sampling – we were doing it like the experts. We learned the process of cupping where freshly ground beans are brewed via pour over. Kaelen prepared the cups and then had us sample it as the experts do – with a good slurp.
I must admit I was initially embarrassed but when in Rome…
We tried a single origin Colombian coffee and a blend. In order for us to truly taste the blend she separated the components and brewed them individually. We then tried each before trying the blended cup. When doing this it was fascinating to taste the varying flavors of the coffee. I LOVED the single original. Now I’m not a straight cup of joe gal; I always need a little cream. But this? This I could get used to.
The roastery tour was a fun way to spend a Saturday morning. I learned a lot and got to taste some delicious coffee. What more could I ask for?