You may not have heard of G&B given it’s a cafe on the other side of the world – LA no less. It is a burgeoning but very well respected coffee outfit founded by Kyle Glanville and Charles Babinski – barista extraordinaires on the competition circuit and in the American specialty coffee scene.
The philosophy and production behind G&B is exceptional enough to have captured the attention of the owners of Paramount Coffee Project and result in an invite to Sydney to take over the Paramount premises and run it as though it was their own. From March 24–30 it all changes; “Everything from the coffee and menu items (such as sparkling NZ hopped teas, and the "business & pleasure" a house-made almond and macadamia milk-shaken iced latte with an espresso chaser), to brewing and workflow, all the way through to swapping-in a particular espresso machine for the week. They are literally running the show,” says Paramount’s Dylan Johnson.
And they’re not just bringing their menu and coffee beans over, rather, it’s a true coffee smackdown. It begins with a panel night which looks at the evolution of coffee cultures in America and Australia, “We hope attendees will get a broader, holistic perspective on the coffee industry and an appreciation for different styles and approaches within it,” says Johnson. “The night's discussion is audience led, a great opportunity to get involved and ask some good questions to some experienced peeps.”
The panel features Babinski and Glanville as well as Mark Dundon (owner of Melbourne’s Seven Seeds and co-owner of Paramount Coffee Project) and Eileen Kenny (formerly of Market Lane, coffee blogger at Birds of Unusual Vitality, and journalist for Sprudge, a US-based coffee news website).
By Wednesday there’s a workshop, open to all but with a bent for cafe owners looking at the philosophy and approach of G&B. Friday Night Fight Night will see competitors register to taste test their way through coffees, picking the odd one out of three, ending in a face-off in a final round with Babinski and Glanville. Finally, Saturday night busts out the booze in a shindig open to anyone.
If you want to get an idea of what the specialty-coffee scene is like in LA, or just a rundown of how to run a slick coffee outfit, you’re in for a full week of learning, fighting and a nice soiree to top it off with.