You could certainly say that I have a thing for coffee and coffee culture in Winnipeg. Connoisseur? Hell no. Enthusiast? Definitely.
So when I saw that Thom Bargen was offering pour-over classes with the enigmatic Randall, I jumped right on it. Alongside other coffee lovers, I spent an evening tasting and brewing some delicious, lightly-roasted coffees.
We started off with a cupping. This experience bears many similarities to a wine tasting. You break the crust to smell the coffees, skim the grounds off the top, and then slurp a soup spoon full from each glass. And I literally mean slurp. Co-owner Graham taught us to do a quick, audible intake of the sip so that the coffee hits the back of your throat and fills your mouth with flavour. It feels silly, but really makes a noticeable difference. After taking a few passes at each cup (four in all), we attempted to identify which region each came from and ranked them from most favourite to least. Graham taught us some words to help describe the tastes and textures of coffee and gave us tips on the qualities you can usually expect from different regions.
After that, Randall taught us the V-60 pour-over brewing method. We tried each coffee again, appreciating the changes that come from different brewing methods, and a few volunteers tried their hand at pour-over brewing.
It was a really fun and interesting experience, and has helped me to appreciate coffee (and all the work that goes into it) so much more. I went home with a complimentary bag of beans in my purse and a caffeinated jig in my step.