We all love our local coffee shop, but sometimes you get that itch to explore a new local brew and try out something new. We know exactly what that’s like so we’re running a spotlight series of the different third wave cafes that we’ve found and love!
The spotlight today is Convocation Coffee in LA’s San Fernando Valley!
- 1 Who is Convocation Coffee?
- 2 A Coffee Hideaway in the San Fernando Valley
Who is Convocation Coffee?
Convocation Coffee is a community-minded boutique roastery based in Granada Hills, CA that launched in November 2020. We’ve tried out a number of their beans and we especially love their unique beans from Yunnan.
We took some time to chat with the four founders of Convocation Coffee: James, Derek, Tim, and Chris.
What’s the backstory of convocation coffee?
The four of us met at church and discovered that we all shared a love of coffee, often brewing for friends and at events and to show hospitality to one another and others. Our desire for excellent coffee rubbed off on each other as we pushed ourselves deeper into this hobby. So we wanted to take this interest a step further to explore what else coffee had to offer, and Convocation Coffee was born!
James and Derek are the “dads” of the group. We are proud of our “sons”, Tim and Chris. Our head roaster, Chris, has a Q Arabica grader certification! Chris has been in the coffee industry and has extensive experience roasting on a 12 kg Diedrich roaster.
Why is it called convocation coffee?
A “convocation” is a call to gather for a special occasion such as a commencement ceremony. We chose this name because our convocation or gathering was through church and coffee. Through Convocation, we hope to facilitate further gatherings, conversations (“convos”, pun intended), and relationships through our products and efforts.
A Coffee Hideaway in the San Fernando Valley
WHAT ARE THE FUTURE PLANS FOR CONVOCATION COFFEE?
We are working on a pop-up espresso bar to cater events and are looking into a cafe buildout at our church in the Valley for our first brick and mortar.
We roast as light as possible while striving for as much bean development as possible to celebrate the origin characteristics that make the coffee special. We currently roast on a 1kg electric induction roaster and are looking to upgrade soon to a larger 3kg drum gas roaster to scale up production.
What’s your favorite coffee right now?
We just released a barrel aged natural process coffee from Rwanda! From cupping the beans to sourcing the barrel, it’s been a fun project for us to experiment with and learn the effects of storage on flavor. It started with sourcing a recently emptied 59 gallon bourbon oak cask.
From there we tasted different coffees and theorized what flavor profile would be best complemented by the bourbon and decided on a natural process coffee from the Gakenke region in Northern Rwanda.
After sampling the barrel every few weeks, we felt it was ready at 4 months and emptied the green coffee from the barrel (no small task!). Roasting light allows us to showcase the origin notes.
What makes convocation coffee beans unique?
We are not risk-averse when it comes to exploring experimental processing methods and enjoy connecting farmers and our consumers through coffee roasting!
A standout is the termico process from don Luis Eduardo Campos’s farm Cordillera de Fuego. From the Tarrazú region of Costa Rica, this coffee smells like freshly baked cinnamon buns in the roaster. The termico process enhances the natural sweetness and fruit flavors of the coffee.
The process starts by selecting the cherries when they are at their ripest allowing them to have a high sugar content and thus feeding the Termico process. The semi-washed coffee is then heated with some of the coffee mucilage left on the bean. The exposure to the heat starts to breakdown the natural sugars of the coffee cherries, partially caramelizing them.
This inventive process gives the coffee an exceptionally sweet and fruity flavor as well as a round and balanced cup.
We love to drink great fun and unusual origin coffees, and are looking to offer them to those who love interesting coffees as well.
Any tips for roasting or brewing coffee?
Since most of our coffee offerings are light roasts, we recommend brewing at higher water temperatures, grinding slightly finer, and allowing a few days for the coffee to rest to achieve higher extraction rates.
For example, we like our Laos anaerobic at a 1:15 ratio on pourover with 208* F water on a medium fine grind size.