It all started with a plan hatched by a fellow blogger, to smuggle me into an event…
With a history of being teachers pet, the plan wracked me with guilt until I came clean, and worked up the courage to just ask, hey, you guys are cool and I like you - can I come to your event?
Naturally my fears were unfounded. The lovely people at Colombo and The Factory Cafe welcomed me with big smiles and open arms, and I found myself rummaging through my closet early last Saturday morning - what does one wear to a coffee tasting filled with super trendy bloggers?
I arrived at The Factory Cafe (best coffee in town, and I’m not just saying that because they invited me to their party) and immediately spotted the bloggers - gorgeous swanky cameras littered the table, and made me swear to myself that my next purchase would be a proper camera! After introductions were over, everyone settled into an easy chatter, as though we had all known each other for ages.
When Arno, Colombo’s resident coffee aficionado, tried to get us to all settle down and take a seat, I have a feeling that he may have been able to compare it to herding cats - so many fabulous people! And fabulous conversations and pretty things to Instagram! (The Factory Cafe is exceptionally instagramable. Also, if you didn’t Instagram that coffee, did you even really have it?) Eventually we tore ourselves away from the banter to focus on Arno, and that turned out to be an exceptionally good decision. This guy. He knows his stuff, and his passion for coffee is contagious. He introduced us to Dan, who took over while Arno got to work grinding coffee beans - Dan explained the origins of coffee (from #seedtocup) while the coffee aromas swirled around us, making us feel like those old cartoon characters that got lifted of their feet and floated towards the delicious oversized lamb chop.
Dan told us about where coffee was grown and the most suitable climates for it to thrive in, (known as the “Coffee Belt” - that’s an accessory I can completely get behind) the planting process and different types of harvesting. The point that stuck with me the most, and impressed me to no end, is Colombo’s commitment to sustainable harvesting. Not only that, but their support for farms that give back to their communities. The folks at Colombo have hearts you guys, and they’re pretty much golden.
As he explained all the ins and outs, Arno came around and put three cups of ground coffee in front of us, which we all had to shake around a bit to release the aromas, and had to get a good whiff of. We had Coffee Taster’s Flavour Wheels at hand, and had to try pinpoint what we were smelling. As we did this, Dan came around with a pot of hot water, and filled our cups while Arno timed the brewing. With their guidance, we could tell how the scents changed with the addition of the water (Look, I’ll be honest. If I had been going it alone, I probably wouldn’t have registered the difference. Years spent battling a sinus affliction and a pretty constant blocked nose has somewhat marred my sniffing abilities. Luckily we had very good and patient teachers, who didn’t look at me funny when I had to snort up the smells harder than anyone else, all ladylike)
After timing it just right, we used spoons to crack through the grounds that had raised to the top of the glass, and sniffed away while swirling it around three times. Again the smell of the coffee changed – it’s kind of amazing to notice the progression of the coffee in such a short time. Arno gave us a particularly useful nugget of information at this point – “Don’t burn your nose. That’s never cool.”
This is when things got really fun. Note that the coffee is particularly concentrated at this point, and we got to taste it. Queue central nervous system hyperdrive! After removing the froth from the top of the coffee, you have to slurp it as hard as you can from your spoon, so that it sprays over every part of your mouth. I learnt something about myself then – after only drinking coffee for a year, it turns out that I really enjoy super strong coffee.
And then they plied us with more coffee and food and gave us treats! We all left with tummies full of the best ciabatta sandwiches and I had my first ever flat white (You can all call me a proper hipster now, thanks), as well as a goodie bag with some coffee to take home, cute stationery and the best biscotti (that lasted for about five minutes).
I had such a great time, and am really glad that I was able to go – so many many thanks to Factory Cafe for having me, and for a great event. I have this philosophy that unless you teach me something or make me smile, I probably won’t follow you. The Factory Cafe and Colombo provided both smiles and knowledge in spades. So if you’re in town, you should DEFINITELY get in on the action – they endeavor to provide coffee that’s so good that it doesn’t need to be altered by milk and sugar, and they’re putting on repeat performances free and gratis every Friday afternoon at 3pm. To get involved, pop Arno an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to book your spot.
You can also show them some online love by checking out The Factory Cafe’s website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as well as Colombo’s site, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Coffee for everyone!