On Saturday, March 28, 2009, Slow Food member and roastmaster, Howard Sobel, welcomed a full house of Slow Food Members to his Crooked Crooked River Coffee Company.
Howard was Ohio's first Certified Organic coffee roaster. He and his wife, JoAnn, returned to Cleveland from California's Bay area, where he had been involved in the coffee revolution. And, in fact, to this day, most of his raw beans come here through the port of Oakland; which is where most of the premier beans travel to America's premier roasters.
Howard gave a fascinating lecture on the origins of coffee, the best growing areas, and a history of coffee terminology. He also discussed some of the social and environmental concerns of coffee growing. And then we discussed "cupping" -- the way to taste and evaluate coffees that have been freshly roasted from the world's finest coffee growing regions. We sampled six varietal coffees as well as as an intriguing iced coffee.
Fresh fruit and delicious hearth-baked breads provided by Western Reserve Bread Company in Chagrin Falls served as palate cleansers and brought out nuances in the various coffees. We learned about decaffeinated coffees, coffee roasting, coffee pods and all kinds of different ways to make coffee -- both good and bad.
Personally, as someone who had the great fortune to visit Kenya and Papua New Guinea during picking season, I must say that Howard described the processes perfectly. Having attended a private lecture given by a premier roaster in Costa Rica, as well as fine cupping done for Slow Food, many years ago, I have to give FIVE STARS to our Crooked River event. The Sobels and their fine staff at Crooked River out-did themselves on Saturday. It was a three-hour event, filled with information, and lively discussion. The group sparkled with energy and enthusiasm. I think we'd all like to visit plantations all over the world now. And, try every kind of way to make really good coffee.
Our thanks to everyone at Crooked River Coffee Company for all of their time and effort.