We’ve been big fans of Chai Wallah for quite some time (if you couldn’t tell by the chai on our menu and our shelves) - but when they announced that they were producing a new product called Achaar, our love grew more than we knew possible…not unlike when the Grinch’s heart grew 3 sizes in one day!
So maybe you’re not one of those people who really. loves. fall. Maybe you don’t break out your caramel scented candles right after Labor Day, or plan your Halloween costume months in advance or Instagram every phase of the changing foliage. That’s OK; we don’t all look good in flannel. But here’s one autumn staple you can reclaim: the pumpkin spice latte.
It’s back-to-school season, even at CREMA. Starting September 21, our popular coffee classes are back in session. This six-week fall semester offers a thorough coffee education—from espresso basics to tasting notes—with classes taught by our own knowledgeable CREMA baristas.
Yemeni coffee exporters Mokhtar Alkhanshali and Andrew Nicholson couldn’t have known what would befall them on their voyage to Seattle for the SCAA Expo in April of last year. Upon attempting to leave Yemen’s capitol city of Sana’a, the two friends found themselves in the midst of an airstrike, unable to fly anywhere. Determined to present their coffees on the industry’s largest stage, Alkhanshali and Nicholson committed to drive seven hours to the city of Mokka, where they then convinced a fishing boat captain to tote them and 100 kilos of coffee across the Red Sea; all this, only to be detained by the Djibouti national coast guard. After Djibouti Port Authorities contacted the U.S. Embassy, the travelers received the go-ahead and were able to catch a 3 A.M. flight from Kenya to the U.S.
Ask any brain-zonked college student pulling an all-nighter—coffee and scholarly study are total BFF’s.
These lifelong pals joined forces yet again on February 2nd at Vanderbilt, as the university’s Institute for Coffee Studies hosted Quality and Inequality, a panel discussion on specialty coffee. Mac Muir and William McCollum, Vandy students and research associates for the institute (and friends of CREMA), invited us to be a part. A huge turnout (our eyes guesstimated 50 or 60) from all over campus, the coffee industry, and just-happened-to-hear-about-it coffee lovers meant the coffee we brought was lick-the-pots-clean gone in about fifteen minutes—but it also meant a bunch of people participating in a necessary conversation.
CREMA and Vanderbilt are both committed to education (though we, at the moment, have fewer Pulitzer Prize winners on staff). Another thing we have in common? Coffee.
In 1999, Vanderbilt founded the Institute for Coffee Studies, a division of the University Medical Center focused on researching the medical effects of coffee. The Institute expanded its scope in 2007 (the year before CREMA was born) to encompass the "historical, literary, sociological, and economic importance" of coffee.