Sacramento’s coffee scene was in the spotlight on Saturday and, boy, did it shine. Our city hosted our first Caffeine Crawl, a multi-cafe coffee tour that highlights individual techniques, ideologies, and general coolness of some downtown’s hottest coffee shops.
Attendees of the sold-out crawl got to taste some of each store’s best coffee while listening and watching as coffee connoisseurs (primarily the owners) demonstrated specialty brewing methods, answered questions, or discussed their unique take on the addictive bean and the farm-to-cup industry built around it.
“What a great opportunity to experience the same thing projected and executed in a multitude of different ways by a multitude of different people and companies and ideologies and perspectives,” said Lucky Rodrigues, co-owner and co-founder of Insight Coffee. “[The Caffeine Crawl] is a perfect introduction to a community and what they provide in all of its differences—all in one dash.”
That idea of “community” among the shops was a resonating characteristic of the crawl. Individualistic emphasis on sourcing, roasting, or brewing set each apart, but an overwhelming passion for the same product united them all.
“We’re all kind of tight knit with each other so it’s very communal,” said Director of Education for Temple Coffee, Cole Cuchna, who says many roasters friended and/or worked with each other in times past.
Placing emphasis on a common goal, Chocolate Fish co-owner Edie Baker explained, “We want people to appreciate specialty coffee and by visiting a whole bunch of places…you’re going to start to understand that this is specialty, it’s not commodity.”
The Caffeine Crawl exposed us to the kind of coffee all the shops aim to produce—one with flavor and taste, as Baker described it. That common goal turns competition into a united front of showing the public what good coffee should taste like, which in turn only raises the expectation of consumers and makes a small community of coffee enthusiasts a big one.
“I moved here 10 years ago and none of the coffee culture was in place back then,” said Andy Baker, co-owner of Chocolate Fish and part of the husband-and-wife team who are both from New Zealand. “It’s come along leaps and bounds…[and] now Sacramento is looked upon as one of the best cities in the country for coffee.”
And what is it exactly that makes Sacramento coffee so good?
Perhaps it’s that here in front of us we have our resident coffee experts and visionaries and they’re approachable, friendly, and genuinely excited about what they do. Or perhaps it’s the resonating sense of community that resonates who we are as a city. Or is it our celebration of differences? Insight’s focus on coffee education, Son of a Bean‘s marriage of art and coffee, Pachamama‘s support of coffee farmers’ livelihood through their farmer-owned cooperative, Fluid Espresso Bar‘s delicious Bolivian coffee on the rocks, or Chocolate Fish’s killer flash brewed coffee they jokingly call “morning beer.”—Yum!
Or perhaps it’s just that—the “yum” factor. Saturday’s Caffeine Crawl definitely showed how Sacramento’s coffee scene has a whole bunch of that…and so much more.
The Caffeine Crawl is a nationwide event organized by The LAB. 150 people broken up by 6 different routes attended the crawl and many also the After Party. The crawl was interesting, fun, educational, and exciting to see what makes our vibrant coffee scene so great. Here’s hoping they crawl their way through Sacramento again! For more information, visit www.caffeinecrawl.com.