A few weeks ago, I was browsing Facebook when I came upon an event – Learners Lab: Coffee Brewing, hosted by the Berkshire Museum. I’m not a huge coffee person, but Brian is and this event sounded like a fun way to spend part of our Saturday. I looked into the Learners Lab program a little more and discovered that the Berkshire Museum hosts events monthly on a variety of topics. The events are free with regular museum admission. We made our reservations (space is limited) and, last Saturday, enjoyed an awesome morning learning to brew better coffee.
The Coffee Brewing Learners Lab was held in a small meeting room at one end of the museum. There were only about ten of us there, but that turned out to be the perfect sized group for easy coffee tasting and asking of questions. Julia Doyle, from Assembly Coffee Roasters, presented and she was fabulous. During the course of the 75 minute event, she walked us through how to use a French Press, Chemex, Clever Coffee Dripper and AeroPress. She explained how each system worked, the amounts of water of coffee grounds and the pros and cons of each device. Copies of the instructions were provided to each attendee, but Brian and I also took some notes. There was just so much good information.
I’d never seen the Clever Dripper or AeroPress in action before. They both make easy, fast coffee that tasted good to me. Brian currently makes most of his coffee using a basic pour over drip coffee maker, but these two options really got us thinking. I’m pondering the Clever Coffee Dripper because it combines steeping and drip, which I think could also be used to make an awesome cup of tea.
I also loved having the opportunity to try coffee from each of the different coffee brewing techniques. I usually use decent amounts of cream and sugar in my coffee, but drinking each of the samples black and in a short period of time meant that I could actually taste the differences brought about by the different brewing methods. They were all good, but I think I like the Chemex the best (which is sort of irrelevant, because we’re not going to buy a Chemex any time soon).
Julia did an awesome job of fielding questions. Throughout the course of the event, she provided information about coffee storage, filter options, Starbucks, cold brew iced coffee, other brewing tools, types of packaging and more. It also turns out that Assembly Coffee Roasters is right in downtown Pittsfield, on East Street, which I hadn’t realized. The roastery is open on Wednesday afternoons and they sell their coffee beans at a number of local establishments and markets. I’m hoping to stop by sometime in the coming months.
I am so glad we decided to go to this event. I feel like I understand coffee a bit better now, in a way that’s actually useful. Julia was intentional about bring tools that we could actually purchase and use in our homes and I feel like I can make better coffee now. We’ve already started storing our grounds in a container that’s more airtight and in the dark, and I’ve noticed Brian moistening his filters before adding the coffee. We’ll see what new coffee making tools find their way into our home as well.