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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, Nov. 21, 2014

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Yes, there are free samples.
Yes, there are free samples.
Christian serves 'em up.
Christian serves 'em up.
Mini-roaster in the cupping room.
Mini-roaster in the cupping room.
Turn, turn, turn.
Turn, turn, turn.
Learning about beans.
Learning about beans.
Bags o' beans.
Bags o' beans.
Casual chatting at the end of the tour.
Casual chatting at the end of the tour.

Free Stone Creek tours warm up Sunday afternoons

I really love going on tours in Milwaukee, from the post office to a brewery to a Harley-Davidson plant to, just last week, the Stone Creek Factory, 422 S. 5th St.

The free tour takes place every Sunday at noon and does not require pre-registration. It lasts about an hour and includes coffee and espresso samples.

The tour begins with a brief table discussion and slide presentation about the history of coffee, how and where coffee is harvested, the brewing process and the difference between commercial and higher-quality coffee. 

Christian Ott, director of coffee, led the tour. He was knowledgeable, clearly passionate about his work and made the tour more enjoyable – particularly for my kids – by asking lots of questions and making it interactive.

"The tour is fun for people of all ages. And it’s fun for me, too," says Ott.

During the tour, we also went into the coffee cellar to check out where the bags of beans are stored and into the roaster area to watch the roasting magic happen. The timing of the tour is perfect because Stone Creek is always roasting beans on Sunday afternoons.

Stone Creek has 10 cafes in metro Milwaukee and the factory is home to the roasting operations, bakery and corporate offices. It also serves as a training facility.

At the end of the tour, we stopped in the tasting room and talked about a plethora of interesting topics, from Central American travel to the concept of Fair Trade – while we sipped from tiny cups of espresso.

For my family, this was a pleasant way to spend an hour together learning new information while spending very little money. (We did buy bagels and hot chocolates for the hyper children who really need to stay away from caffeine.)

Moreover, because my son is Guatemalan – and Guatemala is such a large producer of choice coffee beans – the tour had special significance to us. The chance to recognize and celebrate his culture in any way, at any time, is always appreciated.

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