Back in the fall, one of the Edible Brooklyn events I shot was “How to Roast,” all about coffee. I met some of the folks from Dallis Brothers Coffee and we talked a bit about their roasting plant in Queens and I thought about going to photograph it one day for Food/Work. I ran into the folks from Dallis at one of the holiday markets last month and found out they do tours of the facility. It seemed like a good scouting expedition to figure out if it’s something I might want to photograph more extensively. So, the first weekend of January, Tammi and I headed to the end of the A line to Ozone Park to see what it was all about. Check out some of the photos from the tour after the jump.
When I signed us up for the tour and found out that it was three hours long, I couldn’t fathom how there could be that much to say about coffee. It turned out there was. John, our guide, managed to keep us all engaged with an interesting talk about the history of the company, coffee ‘cherries,’ picking methods and sourcing.
He even demonstrated some of the process with a small coffee plant he’s grown here in New York.
Of course, I was as interested in the visuals of the place as the stories. The equipment used to make coffee is arcane and beautiful.
For all the decals and logos and textures on espresso machines, they might as well be cars – some of them cost about the same from what I gather.
In contrast to the shiny chrome, other equipment was decidedly more blue collar. Huge industrial machines with buttons out of classic Star Trek.
The highlight of the tour for me was when John demonstrated the process of roasting the beans for us. As beans bounced around in the roaster, he regularly pulled a few out and sniffed them to determine how much more time they need.
The process was both interesting to learn about and fun to watch. I hope to return in the next month or two to spend more time photographing some of the action of a normal work day at Dallis.