Counter Culture Coffee just opened a new regional training center in Chicago! This is pretty awesome. As anyone seasoned in the coffee industry knows, there’s a ton of growth in the Great Lakes region of the United States, and the addition of CCC just makes the opportunity for further development more of a reality.
I had some interesting conversations with Peter G when I was in El Salvador with him recently. Peter has been with CCC forever, and now splits his time with the SCAA as he is this year’s President of the Board. Peter told me a lot about the thinking behind Counter Culture’s regional training centers—the company now has training centers in Asheville, Atlanta, Charlotte, Durham, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. And now Chicago. Peter told me that some of the sessions are open to the public, and also to people who use different coffees in their cafes. They’re just places to learn about coffee, and to inspire discovery.
Located at 177 North Ada, Unit 106, in the West Loop neighborhood, the Chicago Training Center will serve as a regional focal point for Counter Culture’s coffee education curriculum, wholesale customer support, and hands-on training for coffee and food professionals as well as home coffee enthusiasts.
Every Friday, the training center is open to the public at 10 a.m. for a weekly coffee cupping, an expert-led taste and quality evaluation akin to a wine tasting. In addition, Counter Culture will host a weekly open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday in May (except for May 14).
This is especially cool: On Thursday, May 5, the Chicago training center will host 2009 World Barista Champion Gwilym Davies for a Lever Espresso Machine Workshop co-sponsored by Italian espresso machine maker Nuova Simonelli.
In August, the training center will host a Counter Intelligence Professional Series, Counter Culture’s 2-day advanced, full-immersion coffee education experience.
“We’re tremendously excited about the opening of our Chicago training center. This will be our seventh and most ambitious training center, and it promises to be a great venue for Chicago coffee lovers to experience Counter Culture,” said company President and co-founder Brett Smith. “Chicago is also, of course, one of the world’s greatest, most diverse cities, and we couldn’t be more excited about becoming a part of its exuberant, evolving culinary community.”
Counter Culture’s education and training program – called Counter Intelligence – includes a variety of labs, classes, seminars, and community events led by the organization’s team of experienced coffee experts. Native Chicagoan Rich Futrell spearheads Counter Culture’s presence in Chicago, and he’s already been leading weekly coffee cuppings at the independent Lincoln Park shop Dark Cloud. Rich can be reached at email@example.com and 919-264-1872 for appointments, sales inquiries, and more information about Counter Culture Coffee.
Counter Intelligence courses include Beginning Espresso, Intermediate Espresso, Coffee Extraction, Comparative Cupping, Cupping Leadership, Milk Chemistry, Origin, History & Trade, a Barista Competitor Workshop, and a Nicaragua-based Origin Field Lab. In addition, Counter Intelligence students may pursue Coffee Steward and Barista certifications by completing respective curricula and hands-on skill examinations.
“We hope that our training center will not only become a valuable coffee education resource for Chicago’s food and beverage professionals, but also an accessible resource for the entire Chicago community,” said Peter Giuliano, Counter Culture’s director of coffee and co-owner.
Hats off to you, Counter Culture! Congratulations on your latest endeavor to bring educational forums to more and more coffee professionals in the United States!