Roasting Coffee

Olympia is definitely on the map for gourmet coffee lovers. My family might fit that category. We buy the freshest beans, grind them fresh for each cup, and each have our own different preferred method of brewing. Just as when we lived in wine country we never considered making our own, preferring to leave that to the experts, here in Olympia we defer to the roasteries.

So in my pursuit of a warm indoor place to sketch on location I approached Batdorf and Bronson (aka Dancing Goats) for permission to sketch inside the roastery during roasting hours. They have a beautiful facility housing a coffee tasting bar, which is free and open to the public several days a week, as well as a state of the art roastery and kitchen for training barristas. My eyes got very big thinking of the sketching opportunities, with the tantalizing aromas of coffee!   

dip pen and black ink and watercolor in 9 X 12″ Canson Mixed Media

The roastery, in a warehouse filled with bags of unroasted beans from countries around the world, was humming with activity orchestrated by “the roaster”, who I learned is the Wizard of Oz behind the curtain. All the roasting that day was to order, meaning the various beans were going directly from the roaster to coffee shops and customers, fresh and aromatic. Various shoots and ladders ushered the beans through various phases of the process, releasing heat and fragrance, cracking the beans open, cooling them etc. etc. I lost track at some point and just sat entranced by the maestro, drawing the wonderful shapes as fast as possible, trying to keep the lines decisive even when not accurate. The three of us sketchers were mesmerized for at least an hour, until finally the machines were shut down, the staff got to see our sketches and invited us back! We did our tasting in the tasting room, bought some beans and plotted about coming back soon.

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