I am definitely part of the population who reaches for a coffee when I am in need a caffeine jolt, yet embarrassingly enough, I don’t think too much about it. Soymilk and sugar please, and I’m on my way. But then there are those who take coffee brewing very seriously. In fact, they would call it an art form. Enter Sean Henry and his staff at Houndstooth Coffee, in Austin’s Rosedale neighborhood.
Sean’s passion for coffee began with a trip with his wife to Seattle, ironically home to corporate coffeemakers, Starbucks. “We had great coffee up there. We decided that this is what we wanted to do. I didn’t think we had coffee this good in Texas.”
Now that Sean has opened Houndstooth, he has not only succeeded in bringing good coffee to Austin, but wants to share his knowledge and appreciation for coffee brewing. Which is why on September 25th, Houndstooth will commence a three series, weekly palate exploration workshop for both novices and aficionados.
A lot of people don’t have much language beyond light, dark, bold, etc. They need to understand that seasonality matters, region matters, soil matters, brew method matters.
“We’re aiming for a middle ground. We throw a lot of coffees at people, so those who have experience with coffee will feel challenged and at the same time, those who aren’t as exposed to great coffees, will get caught up relatively quickly," he says.
"We do two coffees from each main growing region; Latin American, Africa, and the South Seas. Then we talk about it. We teach them the traditional way to taste coffee in small amounts and discern differences between each. It’s designed to get lots of coffees in front of people and let them decipher things for themselves and build their [coffee] vocabulary. A lot of people don’t have much language beyond light, dark, bold, etc. They need to understand that seasonality matters, region matters, soil matters, brew method matters. All these different things matter.”
Indeed all of those factors matter, as I quickly learned in my brief coffee cupping session with the Henry brothers. Yet, all those factors can also be very daunting. Thankfully, we have Sean and his well-trained staff to educate us and show us the way.
Sign up for the Palate Exploration Classes at the Houndstooth Coffee website. $65 includes three worksops and a pocket-sized coffee journal to keep track of your favorite brews. Happy slurping!