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Camber Coffee Sends Coffee Drinkers to Summer School


The Camber Coffee cafe in Bellingham. Photo by Camber Coffee photo by Caleb Young (@keepitcinematic), courtesy of Camber Coffee for a 2017 feature story.

As governments, universities and other institutions charged with delivering education flail around aimlessly in the summer winds, one company in the coffee world seems to have figured out one small way to successfully fill the in-person education gap with online learning.

Bellingham, Washington-based Camber Coffee, whose beautiful flagship cafe is currently open for takeout and pickup orders, has also been running a Zoom-based “Summer School” for coffee lovers.

The education program began as a direct result of the loss in customer flow due to the pandemic, specifically replicating educational cupping events that the Camber team would host before the world turned upside down.

The courses are largely focused on palate development as many coffee drinkers are now embracing more home brewing while chasing the flavor experiences delivered by expert baristas.

“So far, our target audience has been home coffee enthusiasts — folks who may have learned some home brewing techniques, but have never had a glimpse ‘behind the curtain’ into cupping, QC, green coffee processing,” Camber Coffee Co-Founder David Yake recently told Daily Coffee News. “We kept our first couple of classes fairly introductory, but we have more in-depth palate development courses planned.”

Thus far, Camber has charged a fee that covers the cost of the session — held over Zoom — plus the cost of coffees cupped in the session.

In May, the first class in the Summer School series covered the fundamentals of cupping, including an intro to the SCA cupping form. The second class, in June, was focused on origin-related characteristics and identification.

Cambe Coffee Summer School

Camber Coffee’s Colombia Palomos Del Sur Natural “Artist Series” coffee, which is being used for the third course in the Summer School series. Courtesy photo.

A third course, taking place this Sunday, July 26, is focusing on iced coffee. The first in a series of upcoming classes under the heading “Variations on a Theme,” the class will explore various methods of flash iced coffee making, including Aeropress and Chemex. Coffee supplies for the course have already shipped, but guests can still participate live with a $15 “Class Only” option.

The company is also working on developing some industry-specific educational content such as “Social Media Tips for Independent Cafes” and a roundtable on cafe safety during COVID-19. In the meantime, the Camber team has been trying to soak up all the insights it can from coffee drinkers as the local and digital retail landscapes evolve.

“We’ve been really impressed with the level of curiosity and insight from our attendees,” Yake said of the Summer School series. “For example, folks noticed that certain coffees were more apt to ‘self-break’ and they had tons of good questions about what made those coffees more dense, and what implications that has on how the coffee will age, grind, brew… Overall, the level of curiosity has been really encouraging. We’ve definitely learned to leave more time for Q&A at the end of the course.”