What do you do when you’re twenty-something, in a band, touring regularly and then you become a parent? Well, if you’re Lucky, you assess your life and realize you have to make a change. For some, this would mean giving up on passion, forgetting lifelong dreams and succumbing to the Man. For Lucky, though, his name set his path; he soon found himself working in a coffee shop, learning the trade and eventually becoming head roaster before setting out with his fellow coffee colleague, Benza. With the help of a few coffee connoisseur-home roasting friends interested in investing in a new, local coffee shop, Lucky made good on his name, and he and Benza opened Insight Coffee in downtown Sacramento. Insight is rustic yet modern, full of wood and metal. With a simple menu, hand-written on a chalkboard, hunks of weather beaten wood hanging from walls and old-school desk chairs lining a wall, you feel instantly cool the moment you sit down and become part of the place. While it’s not cozy with overstuffed chairs and wall outlets galore, Insight welcomes its guests to sip traditional drip coffees and 21st century concoctions while mulling over the handcrafted communal table that could have been taken from an old log cabin.
Any time you visit Insight you’ll be greeted like you’re an old friend dropping in for a chat, but don’t let the casual atmosphere fool you. Lucky, Benza and the entire staff are serious coffee aficionados happy to offer advice on the best roast for your home machine or even how to decipher flavors of various roasts. As a roast master, Lucky takes his work seriously. When you meander back to the roasting room, you’re faced with a roasting machine reminiscent of a Gold Rush era train engine. But again, don’t be fooled; this mammoth machine coupled with its perfectionist operator produce some of the finest roasts in the area. None of this has been accomplished by luck alone. Lucky spends hours roasting tiny batches of coffee sustainably sourced out of Central and South America. In what appears a sort of magical science, Lucky creates recipes based on a time and temperature calculation. While roasting, he pulls beans out at various times, marks them and then continues roasting. The first crack in a bean signifies a light to medium roast where you taste more of the bean flavor; the second crack, a dark roast where you get more of the roasted flavor instead.
Once Lucky’s logged his time/temp recipes on a sheet that looks more like it belongs in a physics lab than a coffee shop, Benza and Lucky gather their crew and prepare for cupping during which they test various roasts often, selecting only the best to offer their customers. Not only does it make good business sense to get various palettes tasting each roast in order to select roasts that appeal to the most people, but by including their crew in this important decision, the owners create a stronger sense of community and knowledge among their staff, which leads to happier employees and better customer service.
........Continue to A Little Bit of Insight Part 2 to continue this amazing journey!!