Photos by Julie Rings, SDCN Social Media Manager. Words by Pablo Lara, SDCN Blog Editor & Chief.
Last Friday, coffee brewer manufacturer Wilbur Curtis hosted an open house and coffee tasters' competition. No golden ticket needed for this event, just good vibes and patience for the slow drive up to LA. Curtis was excited to showcase their brand new lab, a state-of-the-art facility featuring all the coffee toys a barista could ever wish for.
Located in the second floor of this huge warehouse, the Curtis Lab is definitely something out of a magazine. Crisp white floors and countertops pair nicely with the dark wood cabinets. In fact, all the equipment was matte white, another detail in harmony with the wood finish. And oh boy the toys! Included were, of course, the latest in Curtis technology: a Seraphim, Gold Cup Single Cup brewers, water towers and G4 ThermoPro Brewers. Also in the space were two La Marzocco espresso machines, a two-group Linea PB and a Linea Mini. Who is grinding all the coffee? Mahlkonig is, through an EK43 and a K30 Vario grinder. For that perfect extraction, they have waterproof Acaia scales. The Acaia scales and copper kettles by Hario add to the luxurious aesthetic. It's not just a pretty space, the Curtis Lab is in the process of getting SCAA certified, this will allow them to host certification courses and exams.
Leaving the Curtis Lab with its pristine toys was difficult, but the party was next door. Sprudge Co-founder Jordan Michelman, aka DJ Sprudge, played hip-hop tunes all night creating the perfect environment for networking. Hungry event goers savored al pastor tacos made by taqueros downstairs. As the crowd mingled, amazing prizes were raffled by MC Matthew Barahura. Winners walked away with Bonavita brewing equipment, Barista Magazine subscriptions, Reg Barber tampers and Roast Magazine t-shirts.
Around 7pm it was time to taste some coffee. The coffee tasters competition was facilitated by Gabriel Venegas, Founder and Coordinator of the IE TNT. Competitors were challenged in each round by a set of four triangulations. Coffees tasted included local roasters such as Copa Vida and Good Food Award finalists for the final round. San Diego was represented by Steven Torres of Pop Pie Co., Matthew Barahura of Intelligensia and Pablo Lara of Bird Rock Coffee Roasters. Kim Ta, membership assistant for the SCAA, was the time keeper and kept us competitors pumped.
After a couple hours of slurping and a gazillion bottles of Perrier later, San Diego's Steven Torres came out as winner. He's a regular of Jame's Coffee Co. and even wore their owl t-shirt to the event. We are exited for the opening of his shop Pop Pie Co. in University Heights. They will be baking delightful mini pies with creative fillings like Thai tea cream, taro, earl gray tea custard and matcha to name a few. Sign us up for that!
Thank you Curtis for hosting such a fun event and delighting us with your Lab! A special thank you to Andrew Gomez, Specialty Coffee Sales & Training Manager for Curtis, for being such a great host. It was so amazing to visit the Curtis warehouse and realize that out of this facility comes out the equipment necessary for cafes to serve excellent drip an making our mornings so much better.