Inspired by the incredible work of the generations of food critics who came before me including the Record’s own “Epicurious” Evan (“Winging it in the Berkshires,” Feb. 18), I tasked myself with exploring newly introduced coffee options available here in Williamstown along with caffeinated cultivator of compassion Robert T. Hefferon ’18. Every denizen of the Purple Valley knows the standard offerings of java available here. One can pick up a cup of Dean’s Beans blend in any dining hall before heading off to that 8:30 a.m. class or take a trip down Spring Street to patron the College’s signature coffee shop, Tunnel City Coffee. However, Hefferon and I had heard some whisperings about some new entrances into the Billsville coffee scene and we felt obligated to sample these options for ourselves.
We began our java journey with a visit to the College’s only student-run coffee enterprise: Goodrich Coffee Bar. Until recently, Goodrich supplied sleep-deprived College students with coffee from Dean’s Beans Organic Coffee, a Massachusetts-based company dedicated to using “high quality specialty coffee as a vehicle for progressive change” started by Dean Cycon ’75. The same company also supplies Dining Services with the “nectar of the gods” served throughout campus. However, an increase in Goodrich’s profits prompted the student-run enterprise to consider other suppliers, opting to dump Dean in favor of Assembly Coffee Roasters in Pittsfield, Mass. “We’re excited to work with Assembly Coffee Roasters, a supplier that puts great emphasis not only on providing the best possible quality coffee, but also ensures that beans come from sustainably managed plantations that gives their workers fair compensations and great benefits,” said Elena Luethi ’15, a Goodrich manager. Cycon was not available for comment.
Hefferon and I, with our real needs to investigate any new coffee offerings that find their way to Williamstown, prepared our mugs to sample some of the new selection at Goodrich. The first blend for which we went was Bellwether, Assembly’s take on a Mokka-Java that produces a creamy and rich coffee with hints of both chocolate and cherry flavor. Hefferon and I found that the blend was smooth on the palette and refreshing but not overpowering. The low-acidity coffee contained no granules of ground, an accomplishment for which Hefferon personally thanked our barista. Afterwards, Hefferon and I sampled FTO Peru Sol y Cafe, a fair trade and organic blend that Hefferon described as “more jazzy than Louis Armstrong dancing with a flapper while Jay Gatsby watched in New Orleans.” Despite lacking the metaphorical skills of my compatriot in coffee consumption, I can report back to this readership that the brew was full in flavor but not too intense. Though I was unable to pick up the slight hint of bittersweet chocolate our barista informed us was characteristic of this blend, my senses were nonetheless delighted by this caffeinated offering. FTO Peru was also quite the effective distraction for me from Hefferon’s discussion of how he felt the Three-Fifths Compromise was “a bad idea in the first place.”
With the new Assembly offerings, we will continue to see an evolution in Goodrich Coffee in the months to come. There have even been discussions on pursuing an original flavor of its own. “As our partnership with Assembly continues, we’re hoping to create a Goodrich espresso blend that will be unique to our coffee shop,” says Luethi. Of course, this is something we coffee enthusiasts will jump at the chance to review when the time comes.