If you've been interested in expanding your familiarity with the wide world of coffee but were unsure how to do so, a local purveyor of espresso machines and equipment is helping to make it easier with a new coffee-tasting centre.
Espressotec, which has been in business since 1997 and is located at 1015 Clark Drive, is launching its in-house Roaster Central on its premises.
In a corner of the Strathcona showroom is a row of Baratza Sette 270Wi grinders, each one featuring a different coffee. Up to 40 freshly roasted coffees will be available for customers to try out.
In a chat with the Georgia Straight at Espressotec, general manager Rob explained that the tasting centre allows customers to "potentially relook at how they look at coffee" and become more adventurous in coffee choices.
"The purpose of Roaster Central is to help educate people on different taste profiles in coffee and how varied it is, similar to going to a tasting in wine where a sommelier goes through all the different notes and flavours of wines," he said.
He added that this lowers the risk of making a pricey purchase.
"This is in response to people who are curious about different coffees but are afraid of taking that next step of buying an expensive coffee and then not enjoying it," he explained.
The coffees are divided into a range of categories: balanced, earth/smoke, rich/sweet, bright/citrus, fruit forward, decaf, single origin, and staff picks.
Customers can select flights of three coffees to try out and the coffee can be prepared by Espressotec staff, who can alternately guide customers through the brewing process, including pour-overs.
Among the current participating roasters are Pallet (Vancouver), East Van Roasters (Vancouver), Agro Roasters (Vancouver), Bean Around the World (North Vancouver), Sacred Acre (Richmond), Mogiana (Richmond), Notch (Delta), Smoking Gun (Mission), Rooftop Coffee Roasters (Fernie), Drumroaster (Cobble Hill), Chronicle (Calgary), Contrabean (Kitchener, Ontario), and Caffé D'arte (Seattle).
Paton explained that they will rotate coffees, particularly single-origin selections that change with seasons.
Some examples of what's currently available include Notch's Sumatra Boru Batak (from Lintong, North Sumatra, in Indonesia) is an extremely rare super-grade coffee that features tasting notes of fresh hops, dried mango, and tobacco.
There's also Rooftop Coffee Roasters' Ethiopian Guji, a washed coffee from Ethiopia, with lemon and floral notes and a sweet vanilla finish, that's usually brewed as a pour-over or aeropress but can also be made as a syrupy espresso.
Meanwhile, Contrabean's Guatemala La Esperanza from Zunilito, Suchitepequez (in Guatemala), is a washed coffee with tasting notes of orange, peanut butters, and graham cracker.
Featured coffees are available for purchase in store and online.
The tastings are available by donation to the Lookout Housing and Health Society, a local non-profit organization dedicated to helping vulnerable adults facing housing and health challenges, including poverty, mental illness, substance use, trauma, and more.
Paton said they chose the Lookout Society because they wanted to support a local charity "to reflect who we are and where we are".
The official opening of Roaster Central will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. on September 13, and will include refreshments, meet-and-greets with roasters, and prizes.More