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Cuvee Coffee Roasting Company

4 July 2010 3,702 views 9 Comments

About one month ago, Mike and Rashelle McKim opened their backyard to about a dozen tasty tourers for a visit to their roasting facility in Spicewood.

You have probably tried Cuvee beans if you’ve ordered a cuppa Joe at Caffe MediciHoundstooth, Once Over, or Thunderbird.

Cuvee Coffee owner Mike McKim and "Future Barista" son

Cuvee Coffee owner Mike McKim and "Future Barista" son

McKim included lots of interesting information for geeks and trivia nerds alike. His beans come from Central and South America and he purchases one year’s worth during the annual harvest. He told us that most countries harvest once a year except for Colombia.

While burlap bags are the traditional container for shipping green coffee beans, McKim was excited about the new GrainPro bag technology where beans are stored in air-tight plastic bags for extended protection against moisture and to extend freshness.

Ken and Jenner hang out with some fresh beans

Ken and Jenner hang out with some fresh beans

Cuvee takes orders from their customers until noon for next day delivery. They also sell 12 oz. bags for sale at Once Over, Thunderbird, and Whole Foods. Cuvee’s head roaster, Clancy Rose, roasts hundreds of pounds of beans a day and was a home coffee roaster and barista at Caffe Medici before joining the McKims at Cuvee.

"So we pour a shitload of beans into this roaster...."

"So we pour a shitload of beans into this roaster...."

Before becoming a professional coffee roaster, McKim sold La Marzocco espresso machines. He was interested and became knowledgeable about how these machines worked and if memory serves (this tour WAS a month ago), I believe he would set them up and fix them for customers.

Below Mike shows off one of his roasters that he worked with his retired pilot father to take apart, replace parts, and put back together, along with the sensitive electronic tools he uses to make small adjustments during the roasting process.

Yep, I built this

"Look what I built, ma!"

After the roasting facility tour, we visited the training facility, where he teaches proper coffee grinding, dosing, tamping, extraction, milk steaming, latte art, drink building, and espresso equipment maintenance during weekly classes.

McKim talked about the recent history of coffee service as he prepared samples of Cuvee’s blends. He told us that brewing by the cup was popular before the industrial revolution but with the invention of factories, workers needed a quick way to brew and serve coffee to large numbers of people at once. The coffee urn was born.

Chemex Single Filter Drip

Chemex Single Filter Drip

The Chemex Single Filter Drip that Mike used to prepare our coffee was made by a local guitar company (Collings maybe?).

While he prepared our drinks, he told us about his travels to Central and South America to purchase coffee directly from farmers and suppliers to ensure the best possible quality beans. He recommends that customers who purchase by the bag for home brewing use their coffee within two weeks of purchase and to store it in the pantry or fridge.

Carrie and Alison Tasting

Carrie and Alison Tasting

Mike was very generous with his time, answering our numerous questions during the tour. At the end, he demonstrated how to properly create latte art and allowed two of us to try it for ourselves. I have actually had the unique opportunity to judge a latte art competition once, and it was neat to get to try it myself. I wouldn’t win any awards but Mike was a great coach/teacher and my final work wasn’t a total mess.

Mike demonstrates latte art as Tim and Rhonda look on

Mike demonstrates latte art as Tim and Rhonda look on

Alison bravely attempted latte art first. She looks pretty happy drinking her creation here.

alison sips

We also got a sneak peek as we were leaving of some potential future Cuvee Coffee bag designs. I like the center one. You?

Potential Future Cuvee Label Designs

Potential Future Cuvee Label Designs

For two other accounts on the day, check out Michael Lynton and Eli Castro’s much more timely posts.

Thank you again to Mike and Rashelle McKim for your hospitality, to Paula and Cathy at Crave Communications for introducing me to the McKims and helping arrange this wonderful tour, and to Adam for his beautiful photography.

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