Roadtrip – Part 2

We just finished our Midwest road trip – aka the Wild West Adventure with my travelling companion and excellent driver Brendo Schack hitting the back roads hard in our rental Dodge Charger. We covered plenty of miles in a week that saw us draw in to the grand city of Minneapolis, a place blessed with many great coffee businesses. We had our first brew at Spy House whose staff are consummate professionals at coffee competitions and the winner of this year’s SCAA roasting competition in Atlanta. Next visit was Café Imports, a big industry supporter, the team there treated us to some Aussie Tim Tams and some cool merch. We then moved to the quality-focused roaster Dogward Coffee and yes, we got to meet the Dog.

We headed southwest along the highway to Madison, Wiscosin where we met fair trade roasting cooperative Just Coffee. They had a cool set up and were keen to show us around and yes, thanks for the T-shirt that saved another day’s washing duties. We stayed the night sampling the local breweries which were very refreshing after a hot day on the road. We called in the next day on the way out of town to JBC Coffee Roasters and had a nice brew to start the morning road trip to Chicago.

Chicago is a vibrant city full of some amazing café/coffee businesses. First stop was Intelligentsia Coffee where we were treated to some coffee straight out of the cooling tray of the two refurbished vintage off set drum roasters. Head roaster Alex was a real gentleman and gave us a guided tour of the factory. We then walked down the street a block and checked out the new fit out for Metric Coffee, where we’d heard new roaster Asado was doing a good job and we met with the enthusiastic young team which was very refreshing – as was their cold brew.

Our time schedule was getting tight so we hurried to meet the guys at Rancilio, our machine sponsor for The Golden Bean Roasters competition. Sales general manager Glenn Surlet gave us a tour of the building and we met with trainer Brian Frain for a couple of espressos followed by his new coffee beer. We had a play on the Xcelsius class 11 machine and chatted about the machine’s precision and the controlled ability of doing accurate temperature profiling, making it perfect for judging hundreds of coffees.

We took off that afternoon for the city of South Bend where we stayed the night and joined in the annual beer walk where locals do a food and beer tour of all the restaurants in the CBD. The next day with sore heads we visited green bean supplier Theta Ridge Coffee where Kevin gave us a quick tour before we drove to Brendo’s hometown of Toldeo. We were welcomed to a few good brews by local roaster Maddie and Bella.

In New York I visited Darleen at Super Crown roasters in Brooklyn and met with GB silver medalist Allesio Troia from San Remo coffee machines. Allesio was a great host and a big supporter of the Compak Golden Bean North America and a big ‘thank you’ for the coffee – it made its way home to Australia.

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