Specialty Coffee Week: film screenings, free tastings, beer releases and more

Photo courtesy of Mack Male

Get ready to start shaking from caffeine highs—it’s officially Sacramento’s first-ever Specialty Coffee Week, and there’s plenty of education and treats to go around. And though you will have to pay for your pint of coffee stout, all official events are free to enter and often include free samples.

We’ll have a full feature on Thursday about the week—the weekend in particular is stacked with great events—as well as the city’s increasingly rich coffee culture. In the mean time, grab your calendar.

First off, let’s establish that one of the week’s most exciting events is not technically part of Specialty Coffee Week. That’s because it costs $15, but the night includes quite a bit. It’s Insight Coffee Roaster’s Sacramento premiere of A Film About Coffee, a beautifully-shot, hour-long piece that’s been shown in select cities all over the world, for one night only. Doors open at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 16 at the Crest Theatre, and attendees can enjoy tastes from local roasters—Insight Coffee Roasters, Old Soul Co., Entimos Coffee Roasters—as well as Ritual Coffee Roasters and Four Barrel from San Francisco. At 7 p.m., the film begins. It showcases the third wave coffee scene at every step: the farms in Honduras and Rwanda, the roasters in Portland and San Francisco, the cafes in Tokyo and New York.

Some particularly memorable scenes: coffee farmers drinking their own beans prepared as high-end espresso drinks for the very first time; the slow, traditional and deliberate preparation of coffee at an old, now-shuttered Japanese cafe; the high-pressure, sports arena-like atmosphere at a World Barista Championship competition.

After the credits roll, stay for a Q&A with Eileen Hassi-Rinaldi (founder of Ritual who is also featured in the movie), Carter Gunn (editor of the film) and Lucky Rodrigues (co-founder of Insight). Then head to Hot Italian for an after-party. Find tickets here.

Beyond documentaries, the week is packed with other educational events and nerd-friendly tasting sessions. On Wednesday, head to Bloom Coffee in Roseville for a tasting of one coffee brewed various ways. And it’s not just any coffee—it’s one sourced and roasted exclusively for Bloom by Santa Cruz’s Verve Coffee Roasters. And it’s not just brewed pour-over vs. French press—it’s different temperatures, different lengths of aging and different infusions.

Another intriguing tasting takes place at Coffee Works in East Sacramento on Friday and Saturday. The cafe-roastery will present six cold brew coffee experiments—some are aged with oak chips, brewed with cascara and the like.

Then there are educational discussions—too many interesting ones to list here. But note that if you’re curious about coffee farms, sourcing, roasting or even Sacramento’s coffee history, there’s an event for you.

Finally, let’s get to the really fun stuff: the booze and the parties.

Track 7 Brewing Co. is bringing back its white stout from Sacramento Beer Week, this time brewed with coffee from Chocolate Fish Coffee Roasters. Find it at the Track 7 tap room, Magpie Cafe, Grange, Mother, Hook & Ladder Manufacturing Co., Pangea and Pour House until it’s gone.

There will also be two coffee IPAs—Track 7 is infusing Coffee Fish into its Panic IPA for an event on Thursday at the brewery, and Insight and Bike Dog are collaborating one for an event Friday at the Golden Bear.

On Wednesday, head to Capital Dime to chase bourbon with Old Soul coffee shots and delight in some coffee craft cocktails. On Sunday, Hook & Ladder hosts a coffee craft cocktail competition between eight bartenders, with a special coffee-themed food menu.

Sadly, the week does come to an end. On Sunday, Ruhstaller hosts the official wrap-up party, with live music and the release of this year’s Sauce coffee stout with Old Soul.

Remarkably Sean Kohmescher, owner of Temple Coffee and founder of Specialty Coffee Week, said he expects next year’s Specialty Coffee Week to be even bigger, and hopefully, with more restaurant participation. Bring on the coffee pairing dinners.

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