LAKEVIEW — Talking coffee with Sarah Riddle, the director of operations for Bow Truss, could easily be intimidating for the average vanilla latte drinker. With two small cups of coffee in front of her, Riddle explains how complex a black cup of java can be.
“The Guatemalan coffee will be a little more subdued, subtle,” Riddle said, taking a sip. “I always get a lot of nectarine in this coffee, just a hint of tartness.”
She took a chug of water before switching to the other sample — a new coffee from Papua New Guinea. Riddle currently leads tasting sessions once a week, but plans to expand the coffee education program in 2013.
When Bow Truss opened over the summer, part of its mission was to educate the neighborhood coffee drinkers about what they're drinking. Fortunately, Riddle and her fellow baristas break down her professional vocabulary into language the average coffee drinker can digest.
“It’s a little more bold, it’s a lot bigger, a fuller body,” Riddle said. “This one feels heavier in the way that a black tea tastes heavier than a green tea.”
Riddle said the 2013 classes will cater to everyone from average coffee drinkers to coffee connoisseurs.
“Accessibility is a big keyword for me,” Riddle said. “You have to meet people where they are. The best way to learn how to talk coffee is drink coffee with someone who has a really good palate.”
In addition to learning how to “talk coffee,” Riddle said she's developing classes on how to pour an espresso, an introduction to competitive barista-ing (yes, it’s a real thing) and a history of coffee class that showcases how coffee has tasted through time.
Jim Kay, a local who works in Lakeview and stops into Bow Truss regularly, said he'd be interested in Bow Truss coffee classes, but the timing would have to work with his jammed up schedule.
"The roasting and tasting," said Kay, pointing to the massive coffee roasters in the back of the shop. "I'd want to know how to roast."