This Saturday, August 12, coffee-curious consumers in the Cincinnati area are in for a special treat as Newport, Ky.’s Carabello Coffee will be opening its “Analog Bar” to accomplished barista Sean Hundley of Columbus’ One Line Coffee.
The bar takeover was the brainchild of Carabello’s Austin Childress, who approached Hundley with the concept as the two were competing at a regional barista competition, in which they happened to take the top two spots.
Childress was inspired by similar bar takeovers led by La Marzocco, whose U.S. offices are based in Seattle, and hoped to create something similar for the coffee community in the Midwest.
“People may not realize this, but we are surrounded by extremely talented coffee professionals in the Midwest, and I wanted to see all of us mix together to collaborate and to appreciate one another’s talents,” Childress recently told Daily Coffee News. “OneLine and Carabello coffee are both roasters in the same regional area, but the desire to elevate specialty coffee and community supersedes any sort of business competition there may be.”
Hundley shared a similar sentiment with Daily Coffee News, noting that while there is bound to be some regional crossover between Cincy and Columbus among specialty roasters, the advantages of collaboration and increased consumer awareness are a benefit to the specialty community as a whole.
“We feel that we’re not competing for the same wholesale customers, we are both competing as specialty grade roasters to win over those accounts that are still serving commodity grade coffee. Specialty grade is still a small percentage of the roasted coffee industry. There’s a massive un-tapped market,” he said. “This event is helpful for the industry because we’re getting the customers really excited about specialty grade coffee. As consumers develop the expectation for specialty grade coffee, places like grocery stores, dinners, restaurants and breweries will either make the switch or lose sales. The event continues to help create the demand.”
For the event itself, Hundley will be manning Carabello’s “Analog Bar” from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and he said he plans to “pull out all the stops.” Said Hundley, “It’s essentially a dream-like scenario for me.”
The menu will include three espresso roasts, including a house blend, a single-farm Ethiopia, and a Costa Rican Cup of Excellence coffee that Hundley has used in previous barista competitions; a signature beverage called Fruity Jack and Rose, based on the classic Jack Rose cocktail; a cold brew on nitro tap; and manual filter brews of a washed Ethiopian, a Costa Rican natural, and a honey-process single-farm Mexican coffee.
Childress said the Analog Bar was designed as an addition to Carabello’s normal, typically busy café bar as a place for additional experimentation and consumer interaction — whether that be with baristas, or even with guest farmers.
“We serve only very small and special lots of coffee on this bar with a great emphasis on the connection to the farmer and the community,” he said. “It allows us to be creative and innovative with our recipes in a way that sometimes is not as readily possible on the busy cafe side.”
In short, the bar is a safe place for creativity, collaboration and community-building, all of which are at the heart of this Saturday’s guest takeover with One Line’s Hundley.
“I have great relationships with shops all over the city, and as Sean said about Columbus, a working barista almost never pays for espresso in Cincinnati,” Childress said. “I think we are learning that there is enough for everyone in the city and that there is more out there to be gained as we, the coffee community, work in building relationships with one another and with our city.”