Highwire Coffee …Bean Me Up!
Several months back, Slow Food organization coordinated a cupping and roasting demonstration at the Highwire Coffee Roasters’ facilities in the Oakland area. Rich Avella, Robert Myers, and Eric Hashimoto, the proprietors of Highwire, walked us through the step by step process from seed to cup. Think of cupping as similar to wine tasting.
A Short Video Story click HERE.
We learned that the coffee beans generally are grown closer to the equator. Furthermore, the region’s altitude and climate can dramatically affect the aroma, balance, acidity, and ultimately the flavor of the bean. Even with the proprietors 50 years of combined experience through judging professional Coffee competitions, working in quality control, and cupping 10,000 cups a year, they admitted that there was still so much more to learn.
We headed to the roasting area and watched buckets of puny, odorless, and tasteless seeds go into Highwire’s antique roasting machine. As we listened to the green seeds pop and sizzle inside the roaster’s metal container, we also noticed them morphing into newly browned beans with a rich scent. The popping of the seeds into beans reminded me of popcorn kernels transforming into popped corns. If you are a coffee drinker, there is no better smell than freshly roasted beans.
We went into the cupping room where we would sample from a few regions around the world that exhibited distinct aromas and tastes. Then, the precise amount of coffee beans were ground. Meanwhile, hot water was accurately measured at a specific temperature. When the temperature had hit its mark, the hot water was slowly poured into shot glasses to soak into the ground coffee beans. We mixed the coffee with a spoon and inhaled the scent of the coffee to engage our sense of smell. It was finally time to use our taste buds to choose our favorite coffees. The proprietors and attendees all preferred the Guatemalan beans with its pleasant smell and balanced taste. After taking our bag of Espresso beans home, I could see how much attention, care, and effort went into the process of roasting coffee beans. Instantly, I became a fan of Highwire Coffee. To ensure high quality and freshness, Highwire Coffee roast 2 times a weeks. With their attention to detail and extensive Coffee background, Highwire Coffee is in tune with each step of the coffee-making process from the sourcing of the beans through to the cup of coffee that reaches their customer’s hands. With the Proprietors’ meticulous training of their staff, they tantalize your senses with each cup coming with coffee art and their familiarity with many of their customers and their coffee habits.
Guru Insider Tips: Enjoy an espresso or coffee drink crafted by the Highwire Coffee team at their cafe in the Rockridge area of Oakland. My personal favorite is their Cappuccino and their Tightrope Espresso beans for the machine at home. Can’t get to Highwire Coffee…order online and you will literally smell the aroma of fresh roasted beans coming from your mailbox. Highwire’s cafe is located in an open-aired marketplace called Market Hall, which is also home to an excellent selection of high quality foods such as the Pasta Shop, bakery, butchery, wines, and produce. With a convenient BART location nearby, there is plenty of Fine Food and Shops to keep you busy for several hours and Highwire Coffee to keep you going!
5655 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618