From 4 to 6 p.m. tomorrow at Bongo Java Roasting Co. in East Nashville, you too can learn the secrets of the trade. Bongo is hosting another of its Coffee 101 classes, promising "the lowdown on coffee from bean to cup." Included are discussions of Fair Trade coffee practices, an introduction to the roasting process, and the basics of the espresso bar.
The big attraction, according to BJRC production manager Tio Pistilli, is a demonstration of proper coffee cupping. This is how the big boys sample coffee to make sure it measures up, somewhat akin to using a mini French press: an 8-oz. glass, grounds and scalding water, followed by an elaborate slurping process that, as Pistilli says, "really exaggerates the flavors and the individual characteristics of each coffee." Either that, or it's just a clever way to make a roomful of dignified people regress to infancy.
The afternoon is free, but you must reserve a spot by emailing Pistilli at firstname.lastname@example.org. (While you're there, she highly recommends a new Colombian coffee "that's just spectacular.") In the meantime, to get your interest percolating, here's perhaps the greatest coffee-making scene in all of movies, from the Steve Martin noir rip Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid.