Have you ever stood at the counter at your local coffee shop and just gazed at the work of steaming, creamy art whipped up right there in front of you?
Sharon Stephenson, founder of Blooming Bean Coffee Co., believes brewing the perfect cup of coffee is indeed an art that deserves to be experienced and shared. Beginning on July 16, Stephenson will be offering “The Brew Series” at Bailey Contemporary Arts (BaCA) in Pompano Beach.
The three-class series will introduce students to different tastes, styles and methods to roast, brew and serve coffee. Each session will involve blind tastings, pairings and detailed discussions about industry issues such as fair trade vs. organic and sustainable production.
“My goal is to introduce coffee culture and take participants to the level of coffee enthusiast or even purist,” explained Stephenson. “They will profile their own noses and develop their own palates through blind tastings.”
If the terminology sounds much like wine tasting, it is, she told SFGN. Coffee is an exciting world of tastes, blends and philosophies. And, just like grapes, the character of coffee beans is affected by their terroir—the set of all environmental qualities, soil and climate, where each crop is grown.
Each individual’s taste buds process the flavors in different ways, reacting to acidity and varying flavor notes. Most importantly, like “good” wine, a good coffee is always the one the drinker enjoys most.
Each class will include pairings with pastries and desserts by Love Well Bakery. Participants will also take home a package of artisanal roasted coffee.
“Coffee is undergoing a renaissance, so to speak,” said Stephenson, who rejects the current notion that dark roasting is the preferred method. “We have been in the ‘Dark Ages.’ We’ve been sold a bill of goods….we’re all really tired of being told how to drink our coffee.”
A lifelong drinker, Stephenson later developed her passion for coffee during her travels. She and her husband would seek out local roasters and six years ago, decided to begin roasting her own coffee. She married her love for coffee with advocacy work for at-risk youth and victims of child trafficking.
“It was the best way to pour into a passion but to mentor at the same time,” she said.
Stephenson is also a vocal supporter for the local roasting community, which has grown significantly over the past few years. A barista throw-down challenge was one of the featured events at last month’s art walk in Fort Lauderdale’s FAT Village. She can also be found at the many other local roasters like Switchbox in Oakland Park or Alchemist in Wilton Manors, “depending on the vibe I’m feeling.”
On Sept. 10, Stephenson will open her Blooming Bean Coffee Co. shop in BaCA, the thriving cultural arts center in Old Town Pompano Beach. The inaugural celebration will include an appearance by an artist who paints using coffee.
BaCA director Sarah Benichou said, “We are thrilled that Sharon is teaching this class. Coffee is so immersed in our culture and our daily routines, gaining a better understanding of how to create a better cup is something we can all appreciate.”
Learn the art of coffee at “The Brew Series” at Bailey Contemporary Arts, 41 NE 1st St. in Pompano Beach, on Saturdays, July 16, July 30 and Aug. 13 at 10 a.m. Each session is $25 with discounts for multiple classes. Seating is extremely limited. For more information or to register, call 954-284-0141 or go to BaileyArts.org.
To learn more about Blooming Bean Coffee Co., go to BloomingBeanCoffee.com.