January's a great month for local coffee geeks, bringing us an upcoming trio of events featuring Hanna Neuschwander, author of Left Coast Roast: A Guide to the Best Coffee and Roasters from San Francisco to Seattle. As the title suggests, the book is kind of a coffee guidebook, profiling 55 companies in Washington, Oregon, and Northern California. It also delves into basics like coffee lingo, brewing techniques, varieties, and more. If you're a coffee obsessive or just want to be, these events cover everything from the ethics of coffee bean farming to how to make the best cuppa at home.
Bay Area Coffee Pro Book Club Discusses Left Coast Roast
When: Sunday, Jan. 20, 2 p.m.
Cost: Free, though you should be classy and at least buy a drink
The rundown: The reading group dedicated to literary works around the subject of coffee (don't you just love the Bay Area?) is gathering together to discuss Left Coast Roast. Newbies, don't worry -- though the name suggests it's a private guild for pros, the book club is actually open to all coffee enthusiasts, although we've heard the discussion can get pretty technical. If you have questions or strong feelings about the book, this gang should be able to help you resolve them.
Coffee and Sustainability Panel Discussion
When: Monday, Jan. 21, 6 p.m.
Where: Port Commission Hearing Room, Ferry Building
Cost: $5 suggested donation; RSVP on the CUESA website.
The rundown: CUESA is putting on this panel of local coffee luminaries hosted by Neuschwander. "When I was writing Left Coast Roast, the issue of sustainability was the thorniest, and therefore led to some of the most interesting conversations I had with coffee roasters," Neuschwander explains on her blog. Panelists include Blue Bottle Quality Control Manager Stephen Vick, Colby Barr of Verve Coffee Roasters, and Santa Clara University professor and environmental scientist Chris Bacon, co-author of Confronting the Coffee Crisis. Expect a lively discussion about the ethics behind your morning brew, coffee's environmental footprint, farming and sustainability, fair prices for beans, and more.
Coffee At Home
When: Tuesday, Jan. 22, 7 p.m.
Where: 18 Reasons
Cost: $25 ($35 for nonmembers)
The rundown: Now that you feel comfortable with finding the best beans, learn how to properly prepare them at home in this intro class led by Neuschwander. Topics covered will include an overview of slow coffee approaches like pour over, French press, and Aeropress -- including which equipment is worth an investment and which is more of a "nice to have" -- along with discussion about the nuances of coffee flavors and how to develop a more discerning palate. Also, Neuschwander promises to teach you how to roast your own coffee at home, which sounds like a rad skill to have up your sleeve whether you plan to utilize it or not.