This post is not so much about my roasting but more about my recent vacation to California. The initial reason for our trip there was to attend the wedding of a nephew and his fiancé but we weren’t about to travel 6 hours in a plane and not do some site seeing. The wedding was in the Napa Valley at a winery and you would think that when a person is in the heart of American winemaking you would do as many wine tastings as possible. However, the west coast of the United States is also known for the starting the fresh roasted coffee revolution that has taken over the continent.
Not that I didn’t taste some delicious wines but my consumption was limited to tasting. During my life I have had the occasion to consume mass quantities of alcohol in many different forms and I believe that I have eliminated all of my redundant brain cells. The remaining cells rebel at the slightest amount of alcohol and so I try to stimulate the remaining parts of my brain with caffeine. Above you can see the first coffee shop that I found outside of the hotel we were staying at. I really liked the name and they made me a good cup of Kona using an aeropress. However, they are a chain and they do not roast coffee on the premises. I did buy a t-shirt simply because I like the name.
My next shop on my coffee tour of Napa Valley was the Flying Goat coffee shop. I liked the name but they didn’t have a roaster and the decor was very plain with very little coffee aroma in their store so I didn’t try their coffee.
Across the square in Santa Rosa I spotted another store called Aroma Roasters who true to their name had a functioning roaster in the middle of their shop. The green beans that were on the floor were mostly from Central and South America and were organic and fair trade/responsible coffees.
The next day of our trip we found a couple of coffee shops in Callistoga. The first one was named Yo El Ray Roasting and was a real working roaster/coffee shop. They seemed to specialized in African coffee and I tried their Ethiopian Yirgacheffe. It was a city roast and very flavourful but I thought they could have made it a little stronger. As you can see from the picture it was a bare bones shop with the roaster front and centre.
My next visit was to the Calistoga Roastery which wasn’t a roaster, just a coffee shop, but they did have cool decor.
I particularly like some of the signs posted on the side of the counter here but I didn’t try the coffee because of the false advertising.
There were other coffee shops that I walked by but a quick look from the street convinced me not to enter.
We had just left a state park with giant redwood trees when we came across The Coffee Bazaar/The Russian River Coffee house in Guerneville. Once again there was no roaster on site but we were feeling very mellow and still in awe of the giant ancient trees and needed a coffee to bring us back to the here and now to drive the rest of our route. The coffee was quite good and there were some very interesting artwork on the walls.
So to summarize, there were lots of coffee shops who call themselves roasters but only a couple that really were. In retrospect I think I should have gone to more wine bars.