I’m excited to feature our first guest post this week… And it is coming from none other than my fabulous sister!
Rachel is the Assistant Race Director for Lexington’s Run The Bluegrass half marathon event. While it may sound as though the job and event revolve around running, the truth is the focus is completely on sharing the Bluegrass experience–the delight that it is–with more people and creating a memorable experience in general. Beyond the race, Run The Bluegrass works to share the little gems that make Kentucky what it is, including horse country, bourbon, great food and great people. A newest addition to what they are offering people of the world is a taste of delightful coffee brewed in Winchester, Ky.
If you’re a coffee lover (like me!) I encourage you to read the following and you can even order the beans for yourself. You can also follow her, Rachel Runs the Bluegrass, on the blog, Facebook or Instagram. Whether you’re a Kentuckian or not, believe me when I tell you that you do not have to be a runner to enjoy what Run the Bluegrass has to offer.
Guest Post by Rachel Crabtree from Rachel Runs the Bluegrass
No matter what is going on in life, one thing is a constant for me: my morning coffee! It’s the time I take, each and every day to breathe in the day, reflect, give thanks and look forward to what’s to come. Even when I travel, the French press, grinder, and RTB mug travel with me! Needless to say… I LOVE a good cup o’ Joe!
And suffice it to say, Eric feels the same! He had always talked about wanting to find a coffee we could make our “RunTheBluegrass” signature blend, but could never find one that suited our palettes…until now!
Rewind to last spring, probably early March – close to race time. We had been working all day and needed a break, so we headed out to our favorite eating spot, Graze Market & Café. After dinner, we decided to try some coffee (with dessert, of course!) – but first asked our server if their coffee was “any good?” The people at the table next to us spoke up and asked if we were big coffee drinkers and a conversation ensued. Turns out, they were the owners of Creative Coffees Roastery, which happened to provide the coffee to Graze. We chatted, exchanged business cards and made plans to go for a visit.
Finally, sometime in June that visit happened! We took the short drive down I-64 to Winchester to visit our now friends, Debbie and Jeff in their new facility. I really knew very little…OK, nothing, about coffee. Except how to drink it! They showed us the whole process, from the green raw beans, to the roaster and the fancy programming that gets the beans perfectly “cooked,” to some of the flavoring processes they can do. Their beans come from around the world, and they are careful to select vendors who use fair trade practices and only the best quality beans.
We went back a few weeks later and took our favorite beans (Starbuck’s Café Verona) to sample against some of their coffees, to see if we could find a match. It was a lot like a bourbon sampling, really – I made myself try each one black, first, and before doctoring it up the way I like it (a little raw cane sugar and a good dollop of heavy whipping cream!) Right away, we fell in love with the El Salvador French Roast and its dark, chocolatey notes. Each coffee – like bourbon – has its own unique flavors and nuances, and finally we had found a winner! But when Debbie mentioned that it could be roasted even a little darker – an Italian Espresso roast – which would make it even more bold and chocolatey, I got really excited! So we set a date to come back with a group of coffee connoisseurs, to make our final selections.
Did you know that all coffee beans are hand-picked, first from the trees, and then again, from their pods? And once in a great while, a “freak of nature” occurs and instead of there being two beans in the pod, there is only one: the Peaberry. For whatever reason, this lonely lil bean has its own unique flavor, too. Still a little chocolatey but not quite as strong. And the Italian Espresso roast was AMAZING. Then they threw in a third option – the Costa Rican “Happiness” – which I would call an after dinner or afternoon coffee… a little lighter, some fruit notes, and not quite as bold.
But why in the world would a race care about having a coffee, anyway? Besides the fact that its organizers love coffee, of course? For us, it’s another way to create an experience for all of our running family. Some may have noticed our Sunday Morning Coffee Toasts led by Papa Green Cawood out in Arizona (on Facebook?) Friendships are formed, conversations forged, thoughts shared…over coffee. After we tasted and voted on our RTB Coffee Selections, we all went to Graze for dinner to celebrate. Many great memories were made, and I’m quite certain a good time was had by all…which is always our goal. Creating a community of people, around the world, sharing life and reuniting each spring for a big ole family reunion!
So Cheers! I’m raising my cup to you, my running (and non-running) family around the globe!