Batdorf & Bronson is a company based out of both Olympia, Washington, and right here in Atlanta. The two branches work very closely with one another, right down to performing calibrations via Skype to ensure identical taste across the United States. The company has a commitment to ethical and responsible coffee. Not only do they use fair trade coffee, they also order coffee directly from the plantations where the beans are harvested. Additionally, they use 100% renewable energy, including natural gas and solar energy.
If you haven't heard of Batdorf & Bronson, you may have heard of their coffee shop in downtown Decatur: Dancing Goats. The name comes from the story of how coffee was first discovered. According to legend, an Ethiopian goat herder noticed his flock dancing energetically after eating little red cherries.
Batdorf & Bronson also supplies coffee to Cacao, an Atlanta-based chocolatier.
The tour was led by Jason Dominy, Batdorf & Bronson's Head of Bean Knowledgy (yes, that's a real word) and all-around coffee enthusiast. No, "enthusiast" seems like a bit of an understatement. This dude has a tattoo of a coffee bean; I think it's safe to say he pretty much lives and breathes it.
Jason's passion for the subject at hand made it interesting and relevant to everyone in the room...even the one or two people who said they don't drink coffee!
We learned about the entire process from harvesting to roasting, which included an explanation of equipment that I had never seen before.
Yep, the roaster had an Elvis figurine on it. I'm telling you - these guys have personality!
I was really excited to learn about the burlap sacks that the coffee comes in. Sounds silly, I know, but trust me...they were beautiful.
Best of all, guess what they do with the bags once the beans are used? They sell them to benefit Coffee Kids, an organization that provides resources like healthcare to the coffee plantations. Affordable burlap and a good cause? I might need to make myself some new patio furniture pillows...
We finished up the tour in The Lab where Jason, an award-winning barista, demonstrated serious hand-brewing skills.
We concluded our tour with the most incredible iced coffee I've ever had.
If you live in the Atlanta area and enjoy coffee and/or learning about socially responsible agriculture, I highly recommend this tour. The next one is Wednesday, August 10th at 7:00 PM. Tickets are $25, and the roastery smell alone is worth that price! Be sure to check out Atlanta Culinary Tours' website for more information.
Have you ever toured a coffee roastery? What kinds of things did you learn?
My lovely friend, Angie, has asked me to contribute as an occasional guest blogger on her fabulous floral blog, Birch Blooms!
Angie was one of my favorite wedding vendors when she served as our florist. Her sense of style is unrivaled, and her enthusiasm towards her work and her brides shines through in every single arrangement. I'm super psyched to be a part of her blog, and I'm kicking things off with a DIY faux milk glass tutorial! Be sure to check it out!
As our vacation in Asheville came to a close, we had one thing left on our to do list: the Tupelo Honey Café. This restaurant features "new South" cuisine, and they take pride in their fresh farm-to-table dishes. We had been looking forward to eating at this restaurant throughout our stay, but unfortunately, we got hungry right around the same time that the NCAA Men's Basketball National Championship game came on TV! Luckily, the Tupelo Honey Café does to go orders!
We ordered a lot; this way, we could try a little of everything and have leftovers for the drive home!
We finished up our honeymoon with full bellies and the game on in the background, as we looked through all of the Facebook photos that our friends and family had uploaded from our wedding.
I usually try to avoid crowds while on vacation, which usually leads me to more "off the beaten path" destinations, rather than touristy areas. However, when in Asheville, I simply had to do as the Romans do and hit up Biltmore.
Of course, guests aren't allowed to photograph inside the mansion, but I was able to snap a few shots outside!
The last time I went to Biltmore, I was eight years old. I remember thinking it was really big and really pretty, but that's about it. This time around, I was able to appreciate it a lot more. Most of this was due to the fact that now I'm old enough to drink, as evidenced by our visit to the pub...
...followed by our visit to the winery...
...followed by some serious goofing off in the gift shops.
Note: this is much more entertaining if you watched the same Christmas specials that I did growing up.
Opulence: Dave has it.
Have any of you ever been to Biltmore before? What was your favorite part?
I expected it to be a very old fashioned, traditional Southern town, but Asheville actually has a really cool and quirky dining scene. Nine Mile is one of the leaders in Asheville's locavore and organic movements, and we were lucky enough to be staying within walking distance.
Nine Mile features Caribbean-inspired dishes, many of which are vegetarian-friendly. I had the signature dish, the Nine Mile, which features Jerk chicken, quinoa pasta, jalapeños, squash, and a white wine butter sauce.
Dave had an equally spicy and equally delicious dish.
And, of course, we washed down our entrees with some refreshing craft beer.
What's your favorite local eatery in your neck of the woods?
As you know, this is not a wedding blog. I write about that stuff here. This is a blog about my adventures as a newlywed, which I decided includes our honeymoon. :)
Dave and I had grand plans to travel abroad to Bavarian Europe for our honeymoon. Once we decided on our wedding budget (most of which we paid for ourselves), those plans quickly got pushed to our 1-year anniversary. Once we decided to buy a house, those plans quickly got pushed to our 2-year anniversary. But we are going to the Alps in 2013 and that's final! Anyway, we opted for a brief, nearby, low-key honeymoon instead. We debated between Charleston, Asheville, and Savannah, then we finally decided on Asheville because that's the one we pulled out of the hat through careful scientific deliberation.
We decided to stay at The Black Walnut Inn, a quaint yet comfortable bed and breakfast. Why did we choose this B&B? Well, the main reason was that it was pet-friendly.
Yep. Those are the organic doggie treats that came with our room. Chelsea was psyched!
It was also absolutely gorgeous.
The B&B had several suites in the main house, but our cottage was separate and secluded.
Best of all, the food was incredible. Every day, the owners served up their own creations for breakfast and for tea time. Tea time was actually much more of a wine and cheese event, which was much more my...cup of tea? (I apologize.)
Have any of you ever have a menu and a pet policy dictate your travel plans?