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a cup of texas coffee school

August 29, 2011

Texas Coffee school is Tom’s  training lab. I’ve written about his cuppings at Oddfellow’s in the past and was excited to meet him at his location in South Arlington.  He hosts classes for home baristas as well as trainings for cafes that are about to open. Many people fly in for classes, around 75% are opening their own shops the other 25% are working baristas and home enthusiasts. As we walked into the lab he immediately introduced us to his espresso machine. the UNIC “Stella Di Cafee”

I’d never head of this brand before but he let us know that they are on the same level as La Marzoco and have been in business since the early 1900s. He has a multi boiler version that is similar to the strada and is the first one in the United States.  The light above the portafilters that slowly changed color, imparting a feeling similar to staring at a lava lamp drew me into his coffee world. The espresso it pulled, Meritage from Cuvee, was delicious and bright as well.

Tom designed and built the lab himself and the environment displays the care he took to create a high-quality lab. Two burlap coffee bags hang on the  the wall that he received from different roasters he’s worked with. One being from Cuvee and the other Counter Culture. The bag from counter culture was an unusually processed bean called finca mauritania-pasa. It had been dried on the tree and was so valuable it had been guarded by armed men to ensure that it stayed on the tree while drying.

He is originally from North Carolina where he discovered  Counter Culture Coffee  and participated in their culture of cuppings and barista jams. Because Tom has not followed the traditional way of being introduced to coffee,  he wants to make coffee approachable and accessible by all. He does not like the elitist mentality that is common in the coffee world and thinks that what is more important than a coffee’s appearance is it’s taste.

When he moved to Dallas to work for D magazine, he quickly realized that there was not the same level of coffee quality that he was used to in North Carolina. He worked with a few shops as they opened and realized his love of training and consulting to strive for that standard..

He was introduced to Oddfellows because of his relationship with Cuvee, the coffee he uses in his training lab, about a year before they opened. He helped them with sourcing the coffee from Cuvee, and barista training. Oddfellows also recognized the need for a coffee culture in Bishop Arts District and that is a big part of his role. That is why he hosts cuppings, to create a coffee community and awareness of what good coffee is like.

Tom enjoys offering people good coffee and seeing them taste something new for the first time. Thanks for letting us come visit and keep up the great work! If you’re interested in what is going on at Texas Coffee School you can sign up for classes here!

{i’m posting the winner of cultivar coffee later today, so check back!}

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