The social-media world is producing a whole new kind of celebrity. In the past month, I've met at least three coffee colleagues by making use of the line, "Hey! I follow you on Twitter!" Which, now that I've put it in writing, actually looks a little creepy. But such is the state of the coffee community: We do so love our networking. Coffee is a social art, a collective, some may even say, a clique. But it's not that hard to become part of "the in crowd" and start meeting your own Twitter favorites . . . all you need to do is drop in at one of this city's many coffee events.
Summer is always full of happenings, but here are a few items you should be sure to mark on your calendar--opportunities to drink coffee, make friends, and learn to brew with the best of them. In no particular order, this summer's top coffee-imbibing (and networking) events.
1. Public Cuppings. If you've never been to one, coffee cuppings are a great place to start refining your palate and dabbling in the deeper acquisition of coffee knowledge. Seattle is one of a rare few cities in the U.S. where professional roasters routinely open the doors and welcome the public for guided tastings. My favorite such event is hosted by Stumptown, which takes place 3 p.m. daily at the Stumptown Roastery on 12th. Victrola's Roastery on Pike also hosts excellent tastings at 11 a.m. every Wednesday and Sunday as well.
2. Brewing Classes. Espresso Parts in Olympia and Caffe Vita in Capitol Hill both host public brewing classes on a regular basis, where you can go and learn hands-on to homebrew coffee that will make your morning the envy of every neighbor. Espresso Part's next class ($35) is held from noon to 2 p.m. on July 24 at their Olympia lab. You can register for it online. But don't worry--if you miss that one, Caffe Vita's next class ($20) happens soon after, on July 30, from 10 a.m. to noon on Capitol Hill.
3. Thursday Night Throwdown. And finally, not to be forgotten, no summer is complete without a latte-art competition. If you want to compete in one of these, or just want to have a great time watching other people pour impressive coffee pictographs, try to catch one of the Thursday Night Throwdowns hosted by Espresso Parts. It's a $5 buy in if you want to try your hand at earning some serious bragging rights. Otherwise, it's free to hang out and be awed. Dates and locations for the summer:
July 28, 7 p.m. at Espresso Parts in Olympia.
August 28, 7 p.m. at Metronome Coffee in Tacoma.
September 29, 7 p.m. at Neptune Coffee in Seattle.