By Emily McIntyre
Photos by Octavio Valencia
Here at The LAB, we’ve had our eyes on Sacramento for a while now, and spending six months planning the first sold-out Sacramento Caffeine Crawl was the perfect opportunity to dive in, get to know people, and drink LOTS of great coffee. We had a lot of press leading up to the event ”I even did my first live TV interview with the good folks at Insight! (Nothing is more bonding than mumbling together over coffee at 5 a.m. ”thanks Matt and Mike!)
It’s also worth noting that Caffeine Crawl has just turned 3 ”and this is the first Crawl where founder Jason Burton was able stay home (and attend his son’s first football game) and leave the logistics and production to his team.
The LAB’s Sadie Colwell and I ran the show this time, along with the help of talented volunteers Tyler Colwell, Brian Cornelsen (of sponsor Stella di Caffe), Dean O’Brien, Maya Wallace, and Allison Wyatt, along with Tavio Valencia, who captured the joy of a Crawl through his camera lens.
Six routes total, with two bike routes, met for Kick-Off at Chocolate Fish Coffee Roasters, Insight Coffee, and Old Soul Co. Each Kick-Off was different, but showcased the roaster host and gave us a chance to hand out our swag bags. And let me tell you: these burlap Wholesome Sweeteners bags were over the top! A pound of coffee, to-go mug, and other fun goodies from Vaneli’s, beautiful sampler packs of coffee from Chocolate Fish and Old Soul Co., $10 gift cards and actual ceramic diner mugs from Temple Coffee & Tea, free drink tokens and some gorgeous tasting notecards from Insight, and free drinks coupons, menus, flyers, and other goodies from other participating shops Shine, Fluid Espresso Bar, Son of a Bean, and Pachamama. We also had Rip Van Wafels, the occasional surprise Earnest Eats bar, Wholesome Sweeteners sample packs, and Yelp goodies!
Each shop and Crawler brought their best game, folks. Sacramento is an earnest city, and we learned a lot about coffee with presentations on cascara and washed vs. natural Elida Estate coffees (Old Soul), the Cold Bruer (Temple), flash-brewed Nitro coffee (Chocolate Fish), coffee processes and three different coffees to taste (Insight), affogatos (Son of a Bean), farmer direct cooperatives (Pachamama), vanilla cream Toddy and pumpkin empanadas (Fluid), and ”standing out by virtue of, well, tea, matcha in cookies and in an iced latte form (Shine). Each route was dynamic, full of happy faces and engaged questions.
The After Party at Temple’s roasting facility gave us a chance to relax and mull over the fun of the day, with live music, local wine and beer (thanks to Revolution Wines and Hoppy Brewing Company), a killer cheese plate (â„… Sacramento Natural Foods Coop), and a Stella di Caffe set up for anyone to throw down on. (This 3-years retired barista got her sticky mitts on that machine and, just saying, got a barista job offer from a local shop owner on the spot!)
All in all, the weekend blurred by and has left us eager to return to Sacramento with more bike routes, more participants, and more connection with this sunny city and its awesome coffee scene. Thanks team! We rocked it!
A barista married to a Q Grader, Emily McIntyre wears plenty of hats in the coffee industry: as one of the kick-ass teammates at The LAB the West CoastCaffeine Crawls are her baby; she’s the newly-appointed œmarketing person atCase Study Coffee in Portland, Oregon; and as a freelance writer who is obsessed with the people who create and love coffee, she writes her way across the country as well as provides business writing services to coffee companies small and large. All social media handles ˜mcintyrewrites’. She also produces an intermittent travel / beverages blog at www.softexplosions.com.