It might seem a little odd to take toddlers and preschoolers to learn about coffee, but this was a really interesting one! The kids really enjoyed it and were richly rewarded for their focus with hot chocolate and a colorful platter of delicious cookies.
We started out with a
brief history of coffee, and it was so interesting. It originated in Ethiopia and they kept it a secret for hundreds of years. "If you had something that would keep your warriors awake all night when you were in a battle," said Beth, owner and tour guide, " you'd keep it a secret too!" We smelled the Yrgacheffe, the special beans specifically from Ethiopia, and were so intoxicated by the rich, complex scent. Not your average beans, for sure.
Then we went into the warehouse and saw the heavy stacks of sacks of coffee beans from all over the world. The kids really enjoyed running their hands through the open sacks of unroasted beans. Then we saw the coffee being roasted in a special air roaster, and then we saw all the workers in the back sorting and bagging and even flavoring some of the beans. After this we were offered sustenance in the form of hot chocolate for the kids and cappucinos for the moms. Not a half bad way to spend a morning.
Texas Coffee Traders to me is like a wonderful hidden secret in my neighborhood. The outside really just looks like a warehouse so it's surprising to find that anyone can walk in and choose from dozens of different blends, talk to an educated someone about coffee as if you were picking out a fine wine, and look at all their great retail stuff. Most of all I am just SO incredibly impressed with what they have created in their lifetime. Thirty years ago they started experimenting with roasting coffee beans after finding an old coffee bean roaster in a barn in Montana. Can you imagine stumbling on to something that would catch on in such a major way? But the most admirable thing is that all along the way they have done things in the most humanitarian way possible. 20 years ago they bought a coffee farm in Costa Rica, and she said it was one of the first Fair Trade places EVER. The (organic) farm is in Monteverde and they provide jobs at a good wage for people who might otherwise have to resort to exploiting the environment to survive AND the coffee there is shade grown so the cloudforest remains intact. So it's just a win-win-win-WIN situation they've created.
All in all, a fantastic place to spend your bucks. Check it out... located 1400 E. 4th St.