A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending Port City Java’s monthly public roastery tour. I wasn’t sure what to expect but, as a person who loves coffee with a deep, abiding passion, I felt it was my duty to discover how a perfect up of PCJ is created. After a 90-minute crash course in coffee roasting, brewing, and tasting, I left the tour caffeinated, educated, and more in love with coffee than ever before. Here are the highlights:
Would you like some coffee?
I arrived at Port City Java’s Corporate Headquarters at 9AM on a Saturday morning. As soon as I walked through the door, I was offered a cup of hot, fresh coffee. Never one to turn down free java—especially PCJ’s—I happily accepted, despite the fact that I’d already had three cups earlier that morning. Oh, well. You only live once.
A close encounter.
Tour groups are limited to six people, which means you get to know the PCJ employees as well as the other people in your group pretty well. Our tour was led by the CEO of Port City Java, Steve, and the Director of Roasting, Scott, which I thought was really impressive. The fact that they were both friendly, welcoming, and down-to-earth was also refreshing.
Our first stop was a conference room, where we sipped our coffee and listened to a presentation from Scott. He showed us photos of a trip to South America and explained where Port City Java’s coffee beans are grown and harvested, how the global coffee economy operates, and who runs the coffee farms. Scott was a great speaker, I’ve always loved school, and did I mention I was on my fourth cup of coffee? Needless to say, it was a great presentation.
Once we knew where the coffee came from and how it was shipped to North Carolina, it was time to see the beans in action. We were led to the roasting facilities, where we saw how the beans turned roasted to perfection. Port City Java actually has two different roasters in two separate rooms. The larger one roasts their regular coffee, and the smaller roaster is dedicated to their organic and fair trade beans, so there’s no cross contamination. Fancy!
How do you brew?
After learning the art of “coffee cupping” (which will get its own post—stay tuned!) Steve treated us to a demonstration of the different home brewing methods. Reading about these methods is one thing, but seeing each method explained by a pro is truly eye opening. It inspired me to go home and dust off my French press, and I’ve been brewing better coffee ever since—thanks in no small part to the bag of freshly roasted beans we each received as a parting gift.
Port City Java’s public roastery tours are held once a month. Tickets cost $15 and can be reserved online—but remember, they only sell six per tour! If you love coffee, do yourself a favor and claim your spot today.
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