Editor note: I can’t tell you how much it means to me to build relationships and stay in touch with so many baristas and cafe owners all over the world—and there’s always room for more! My friend Wade Reed from Joe Bean Coffee Roasters in Rochester, N.Y., is one of the people I’m talking about: he lets me know when his company has something going on—a throwdown, a jam, a cupping—and we give him and Joe Bean publicity and support for it. It’s really that easy. So guys, please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org anytime to share your news!
Anyway, so Wade wrote to me with news about Joe Bean‘s latest news: the development—not to mention success—of a little thing they like to call Nexus Nights. And there’s more—plenty more! I’ll let Wade tell you all about it, in his own words…
Like the specialty-coffee community at large, we at Joe Bean Coffee Roasters dedicate a wealth of time and energy to finding ways to enhance a quality product with a unique, creative experience. At every stop on this journey, we’ve found a community of the curious, the interested, and the passionate whose participation inspires us on a nearly daily basis. This nexus of quality, creativity, and community is the driving force behind our latest series of Thursday night events we’re calling Nexus Nights.
In hopes of generating uniquely focused events, each Nexus Night is developed to highlight a specific aspect of coffee or the pairing potential of a coffee with another fine food and beverage. To this end, individual Nexus Nights fall into three broad categories: Cuppings, Pairings, and Celebrations.
At the cuppings, we walk people through the meticulous process of tasting that are common to quality-control professionals across the specialty-coffee industry. Each of these tastings is an opportunity to discover a coffee on its own terms, to experience every characteristic that contributes to its quality. Within this format, we are able to emphasize and explore how particular dimensions of terroir are expressed in each cup of coffee.
At the pairings, we take advantage of the diversity and complexity of coffee by preparing it alongside other quality food and beverage items from local producers and chefs. We’re aiming to expand the perception of coffee from just the morning beverage you take away in a paper cup to a potential ingredient in any good meal or hosting situation. For many, this may be the first time they will ever ask, “What coffee would I serve with…?”
Finally, the celebrations are just that: times set aside to celebrate our mutual love of coffee. Whether you’re a home roaster, a killer latte artist, or a coffee professional dedicated to the specialty-coffee community, we’re bringing people together to enjoy coffee and good company.
After five Nexus Nights, we are happy to report that, once again, the coffee community in Rochester is alive, thriving, and thirsty. In the first two cuppings, we focused on the impact of processing by comparing two natural process and two fully washed coffees. Based on staff research, we geared these cuppings to focus on differences in acidity, body, and clarity caused by the two processing methods, which have been correlated to sugar and acid content in the fresh, green coffee. For many, this exercise provided a new understanding of how coffee arrives in their cup, and the impact of that long journey.
The first pairing brought two wines that also undergo unique processes from Niagara-region producer Leonard Oakes Estates. One is a dry Riesling blended from three vineyards, one of which undergoes arrested fermentation to maintain a small, but vital, residual sugar content. The other, an ice wine, relies on unique growing, harvesting, and fermenting processes to achieve a highly-concentrated balance of sugars and acids. In an effort to reinforce the impact of processing, we paired these with a fully washed coffee and a pulped natural coffee, again discussing how acids and sugars might play a role in cup quality. The similarities and differences in the wine and coffee processes teased out the importance of the concept conveyed in the phrase “crop to cup.”
In our first celebration, we invited our faithful home roasting community to a “Home Roasters’ Expo,” giving them an opportunity to display their labors of love and hear how we come to our conclusions about roasting. The batches of Ethiopia Sidama sampled that night were a small window into the enormous world of roasting and how roasting techniques and habits determine so much about the final coffee experience.
We’ll be continuing our Nexus Nights through October and November, and we are very excited about where this will expand the coffee community in Rochester. Here’s what’s on tap:
• October 17th will be our second celebration: A Thursday Night Throwdown here at Joe Bean, to display some of the magnificent barista skill of Western New York.
• October 24th we’ve invited over our friends from Roc Brewing Co to deconstruct the three coffee/beer collaborations we have produced with them and talk about why coffee and beer are just so good together.
• October 31st, we hope to give Rochester a taste of the specialty-coffee community beyond our borders by hosting a collaborative cupping with any roasters willing to send us something tasty. If you’re reading this and you’re interested in being featured on our cupping table, please send a message to Wade Reed at email@example.com or Kathy Turiano at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• November will see two more cuppings, focusing on the impact of soils on the 7th and the 21st, while the 14th will be another food pairing with a diverse cast of chefs from local Rochester restaurants.
• Finally, December 4th will conclude the first series of Nexus Nights with a beverage celebration bringing together coffee, beer, wine, and a selection of other fine beverages to say thanks and celebrate the community that makes all of this possible. We are so eager to bring these opportunities and experiences to our beloved Rochester community.