Here at Sprudge.com's Build-Outs of Summer, we don't discriminate: we love all coffee spaces, not just hot new cafes. Labs, experiences, importer coffee bars, education centers, bikes, carts, whatever—we're down. Out in Tulsa, Oklahoma, our friends and partners at Topeca Coffee have built out an exciting new specialty coffee lab, dubbed the Topeca Instruments Division. The name of the game here is education, specifically the Specialty Coffee Association of America‘s curriculum for barista certification, but the TID is home to choice gear, events hosting, and much more, all in a 2.5k-square-foot space that's large enough to make big city coffee dwellers jealous. The TID is open now, with build-out tweaks still happening and a full slate of summer programing offered. Let's learn more.
As told to Sprudge by Mitchell Murray.
For those who aren't familiar, will you tell us about your company?
Topeca Coffee Roasters started as a seed-to-cup coffee company in 2002, owning our own farm, mill, roaster, and coffee shop. Originally roasting only coffees from our family-owned farms in El Salvador, we have since grown to sourcing and roasting coffees from all over the world. We are diligently focused at understanding specialty coffee in every aspect; from sourcing, to roasting, brewing, economics, education, and sustainability.
Can you tell us a bit about the new space?
Our new space is called Topeca Instruments Division (TID). It is a 2,500-sq.-ft. training facility and quality control lab. We are running the space as a SCAA Certified Teaching Lab, and will be offering several certificate training opportunities throughout the year. We already have 12 workshops scheduled for the rest of 2015. Our hope is to become a leader in the region for coffee education, by making SCAA certification more accessible and convenient for industry professionals. TID occupies the building next door to our roastery. We broke through the walls and conjoined the buildings by a walkway for easy access.
What's your approach to coffee?
Our approach is fairly straightforward: We focus on sourcing quality, sustainably sourced, coffees that are unique and well above average quality. We roast only what is fresh and in season. The bulk of our offerings are single-origin coffees, though we offer a couple standard blends as well as seasonal blends throughout the year. We work very hard at roasting the coffee to its full flavor potential, without covering up its origin and processing characteristics with pyrolytic attributes. We want our customers to enjoy what makes the coffees unique and of high quality. We are also huge on education, and offer many opportunities for our employees and customers to learn about all the facets of specialty coffee.
Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?
TID consist of a classroom built for 18 students, an espresso training bar, brew applications bar, sample roasting/roaster training area, and an isolated cupping and analysis room. On the bar, we currently have La Marzocco Strada and Linea espresso machines, though are soon going to be showcasing a Unic Stella on the bar, because we love Unic’s machines and are trying to spread the word. In the roaster training area, we have a 1.5-kilo Proaster, which is really fun to roast on. The brew applications bar has various brewing devices from batch brewers to just about every popular hand brewing device out there. We are using Acaia scales on the bar as well.
When did you start construction? When did it finish?
We began November 2014 and finished in April 2015. Our first SCAA workshop was scheduled for the first week of June. We still have a few finishing touches to complete, such as exterior signage (if it ever stops raining…)
Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you'd like to mention?