For the past year, Chip Grabow of Radio Roasters and I have emailed back and forth, always planning to get together for a blog shoot, but for some reason or other, never connecting. Until earlier this week, when we set a date on a Monday morning and I arrived and he was there. Perfect. Now let's have some of that coffee...
Part of the reason it took Chip and I some time to connect was because roasting small batch coffee is not his day job. He's an editor at CNN and does this coffee roasting thing on the side. Except it's not really just a thing- it's a big, ambitious, impressive thing. He does it for the love of coffee and Chip's passion is evident the moment I stepped inside his small roastery in Decatur, Georgia. He doesn't want others to just drink good coffee, he wants them to understand why it's good coffee. As Chip explained, "roasting coffee is an art form."
Coffee, at its origin is a food crop. Like a fine wine, the taste varies based on the soil it is grown in, the care the farmer provides, when it is harvested and how. The farmer who raised the beans now passes the responsibility on to those that roast and ultimately brew those beans. Chip savors the challenge. As he shared, "There are all these flavors locked inside a coffee bean that you don't realize is there."
During my visit, Chip roasted two of six coffee options that he is always rotating, depending what's in season and from where. The first up was Estate PB near Antigua in Guatemala which derives from the small bean known as peaberry- which, if roasted just right, elicits a full bodied, sweet taste. The other coffee was Banexport from Huila, Colombia which showcases an apple crispness with a sweet, rich body.
It was so nice to have a cup of the Antigua coffee, roasted and brewed by a caregiver's touch. I told Chip, as I work in television studios and sets, I always hide my bad coffee with cream and sugar. But here I had the chance to drink a quality cup and really learn its depth and nuances. It tasted delicious and I learned a thing or two. Mission accomplished for Chip.
I also learned through our time together that Chip was a producer at NPR for 15 years (hence the name of his company). He's a man after my own heart as he loves a good story. And he continues to tell really good stories, whether he knows it or not, with each cup of coffee he serves.
If you live in Atlanta, you can purchase Radio Roasters coffee from Crafted Westside, Sq/ft or in Chip's online shop. As the formula goes, Chip roasts and you brew, so I recommend you check out his brewing tips for crafting a flavorful, quality cup. One that would make him and the farmer proud.
Images: Whitney Ott, Sweet Peach Content: Sweet Peach