A dozen years ago, Claire Meneely emerged from the culinary school oven, fresh and warm and eager to bake. After years of getting her hands doughy in San Francisco, and learning from the best in Paris, Claire returned home--to Nashville. In her hometown--which she never thought she’d return to--her pop-up holiday cookie store become Dozen Bakery. The story just gets sweeter from there. We emailed with Claire, Dozen’s owner and baker, last week.
It was 2008, and CREMA was all concrete floors and cinder-block walls, still revving with memories of the diesel engine repair shop it used to be. CREMA was Rachel and Ben, scrubbing the floors, polishing their dream. CREMA was friends who showed up with paintbrushes, family that brought an extra pair of work gloves, so many good and kind people just there to help.
Roasting, like we said, is cooking the coffee beans from green to brown. So sling on your apron and march into our cyber-kitchen, as we whip up a mighty-fine batch of coffee learnin’. In Part One of the Basics of Coffee Roasting, we urged readers to steer clear of the dark side (and the light side), offering a roasty alternative: profile roasting. The idea of profile roasting is that each coffee is different, requiring specific roasting parameters to coax out the desired flavors.
There is one thing that is indispensable for parents of young children and that is a healthy coffee habit. And it’s not just the need for caffeine, though that is not unimportant. For me, drinking coffee is about those few minutes each day when I get to relish in those familiar and repetitive motions of making it, the smell and the taste of it, the way it brightens my mood no matter how much sleep I’ve had or how much I will have to do that day.
Coffee, as you know, is the seed of a fruit. Roasting is the process by which that pasty-green seed matures into a complex, ready-to-brew coffee bean. In just a few minutes, the green bean develops sugars and acids which, by myriad mystical ways, form the balanced, sweet taste you’re looking for. The formerly pale, green-ish yellow bean receives a matte milk chocolate finish after a quick jaunt in the roaster.
CREMA’s second annual latte art/slam dunk throwdown featured 32 mid-south baristas, matched up in a one-on-one, single-elimination, tourney-style bracket to determine who had the most game. The tomahawk jams and reverse windmills (the latte art equivalent of those are seven-tiered tulips and inverted rosettas) came flying in from all over, from our pals at Spencer’s in Bowling Green, our Chattanooga friends at Copacetic, and all of Nashville’s ballin’ baristas.
I was working with twelve students, a mixture of sophomores, juniors, and seniors, who had only ever had—according to them—forgettable experiences with coffee. We started slow. Folgers and a coffee pot. The next day I showed them a French Press. Then a Melitta one-cup brewer. Then a V60. Then a Chemex. Our explorations with brewing devices paralleled the depths we descended to better understand the production of quality coffee.
One bleary winter day in 2008 during our grueling buildout Mark walked in. He had one question for us, “You need help making a sign?” Oh right, we’ll need a sign was our thought and one we downplayed, “Yeah, we’re gonna do something cool out there on the front of the dealio”. It turns out Mark’s question soon revealed deep roots, beliefs we’ve come to admire and have inspired us along our journey.