Counter Culture Coffee Training Center: A Look Inside the New Somerville Digs

16 Sep


It’s not a party unless something gets spilled

After nearly a year and a half of planning, Counter Culture’s Coffee Training Center in Somerville opened their doors this past Saturday for an open house. Nothing like spending a bunch of time and money making a place look lovely just to let a bunch of us trash the place on the first day.

The large space is not only beautiful (in a minimalist Third Wave sort of way), but highly functional. The front room (above) is reminiscent of a typical high-end coffee bar, with a “DIY Espresso” station tucked in the back.


Beautiful cupping space

Most of the real estate is devoted to a separate room containing two long tables (above), perfect for cuppings and fooling around with the many coffee toys hidden around the training center.

Katie Carguilo

DIY Espresso Bar: USBC Champion Katie Carguilo giving some tamping advice

It’s a great space, but don’t try to order a macchiato next time you’re in the Somerville neighborhood. The training center is primarily for training Counter Culture baristas and public coffee education classes. Classes are $150 for a full day, and $75 for a half day,  which is actually a pretty good deal for the quality of classes. Topics include milk chemistry, brewing science, coffee origins, comparative cupping, and many more.

Sam Lewontin & Ryan Soeder

Sam Lewontin of Everyman Espresso (Soho, NY), & Ryan Soeder of Counter Culture

In addition to local Counter Culture superstars like Ryan Soeder and Jake Robinson, quite a few baristas made the trip for the Boston Training Center opening. Sam Lewontin of Everyman Espresso in Soho was pulling endless shots of a special Ethiopian espresso, which was prepared more like a Kenyan roast with a dry fermentation to open it up and amp up the savoriness.

Counter Culture Pour-Over

Comparing two Guatemalan pour-over coffees by Counter Culture

Also on hand was 2012 US Barista Champion Katie Carguillo (Brooklyn, NY), who is sticking around Beantown through the weekend to kick off the first stop of the “Fruit Bombs & Fermentation Tour.” Taking place Monday night at 7 pm at the Boston Training Center, green coffee buyer Tim Hill will join Carguillo in discussing experiments in the fermentation process with Ethiopian coffees – the very topic that won her the championship. Details available here.

Tommy Gallagher

Tommy Gallagher of Counter Culture (Brooklyn, NYC) taking a much needed coffee break after serving a packed house

My favorite coffee of the day was courtesy of Ryan Soeder, who has spent the past 8 months preparing for the training center’s opening. The chocolaty Rustico Organic espresso is just as perfect for a morning cortado as an after-dinner macchiato.


The goods on display

As a Cambridge resident, I’m excited to have the “cool kids next door” actually next door to me in Somerville. It might not help me get an excellent espresso on a daily basis, but I’m excited to see how they use the beautiful and versatile space to up the ante in this coffee-rich town.

Counter Culture Training Center
374 Somerville Avenue
Somerville, MA 02143 

5 Responses to “Counter Culture Coffee Training Center: A Look Inside the New Somerville Digs”

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