Having been out to Diedrich years ago, I had high expectations for the week ahead. Coffee aside, Sandpoint, Idaho has a lot to offer - endless lakefront, evergreen mountains, a charming downtown with everything from independent bike shops to little bistros and age-old taverns... and, of course, Evans Brothers Coffee Roasters. It's the perfect place to fuel up and unwind amid a three-day seminar.
Mr. Rocky Rhodes lead a class of 11 through an excellent program of coffee background and basics, roasting concepts and practical experimentation, ad-libbing on questions of every sort along the way. Thoughtfully paced over three lengthy days, the seminar was largely hands-on (endless rounds of roasting and cupping in pursuit of a perfect pourover profile) and appealed to our wide-ranging group - from true coffee neophytes to experienced roasters looking to sharpen their shop practices, training protocol and everything in between. Add to the mix, the green coffee buying presentation by Laurel from Royal Coffee, several specialized talks by technicians from various departments within Diedrich and an outstanding factory tour by Gary, and you have a pretty solid education.
Virtually everyone I came across at Diedrich HQ had a warm smile, a willing ear and an eagerness to problem-solve and support. Outside the seminar curriculum, the opportunity to speak with anyone about any facet of working on a Diedrich was invaluable. I drove west feeling even more informed about the ingenuity and integrity of the equipment we use every day.
In the off-hours, we had great walks on City Beach, a lingering, al fresco evening over chicken parm and Barbera at Ivano's and a fun boat tour on Lake Pend Oreille. For the true night owl, I'm not saying to schedule a trip to Roxy's, but if you find yourself there, enjoy the good cheer and classic service and maybe clear your calendar for the next morning.
Thank you to Rocky, Miles and the kind folks at Diedrich - Natalie, Christine, April, Toby, and more. We had an incredible week in Sandpoint.