Food & DrinkSide Dish

Boco Coffee Roasters Holds Fourth Annual Charlotte Coffee Crawl

David Haddock pours steamed milk into a craft coffee drink. (Photo courtesy of Boco Coffee Roasters)

The time for pub crawls and bar hopping is over — for a weekend — and a different kind of beverage adventure is underway.

Hosted by BoCo Coffee Roasters in Villa Heights, the Fourth Annual BoCo Coffee Crawl is April 6 and 7 starting at 8 a.m. Participants meet at BoCo Coffee Roasters to receive their crawl passes and a list of coffee shop locations before they’re released into the neighborhood, venturing to each location for deals on specialty coffee deals and craft demonstrations. Crawlers return after visiting all the shops on the list, they return to the starting point to receive a gift bag from BoCo Coffee Roasters.

Not only is the crawl an opportunity for customers to get deals on specialty caffeinated drinks and see craft coffee demonstrations, but a chance to bring the coffee community together and support the local businesses who get skipped over during brewery tours and pub crawls.

Coco and the Director, Trade and Lore, Central Coffee, Undercurrent and Crema Espresso and are just a sampling of the participating shops.

We caught up with David Haddock, a crawl organizer and co-owner at BoCo Coffee Roasters before the event to discuss caffeine overloads, the coffee community and the growth of coffee shop culture.

Queen City Nerve: What do you hope participants will get out of the crawl after visiting each location?

David Haddock: First of all, they’ll be introduced to [Boco Coffee Roasters] if they haven’t been before and they’ll see what a full-service specialty roastery can do and what we offer. This will be the start, this will be ground zero.

Then, each coffee shop is a unique expression of the owner and the folks who work there. For example, Trade and Lore are renowned as technicians when it comes to craft coffee, and just a very high level and high standard that they provide. Parliament is just a beautiful coffee shop and Coco and the Director’s probably the most popular coffee shop in town right now. It’s just a variety of experiences at each individual shop and the level of quality that each individual shop showcases, their knowledge, their experience, how they present it to the customer is what we want these folks to experience. Because you can go out to any coffee shop around Charlotte alone and get five or six expressions of a simple double espresso; how it tastes, how they do it, their technique. It’s fascinating when you really start to look at the details of how they do it.

David Haddock, co-owner at Boco Coffee Roasters and organizer of the Boco Coffee Crawl. (Photo courtesy of Boco Coffee Roasters)

A coffee crawl sounds like a recipe for caffeine jitters and a crash. Is that a concern for some people?

That’s one of the reasons why we spread it out over two days, because folks can start with half the list and go there — and some of the shops are only open on Saturdays or they’re not open on Sunday — so they can go to those two or three that are open on Saturday and finish off the list the next day.

But for example, Coco and the Director, they do coffee but they also do Green Brothers [Juice Co.] or even some of their specialty teas that they do. It’s not just a caffeine overload. In the three years prior that we’ve done this, we haven’t had any complaints about that.

How do you hope the crawl to grow and expand in the future, and how will it affect the city’s coffee shops?

What we’re seeing right now is a definite growth trend in Charlotte for a defined coffee culture, meaning coffee shops are getting much, much better than they used to be. We’re definitely going to keep doing it because there’s a great amount of interest and there’s an expanding number of coffee shops that are coming into the area.

It’s an educational customer experience event rather than a profit-centric [one] we want to involve as many people as possible to get them out there to drive business and customer experience to each individual shop and some of these shops.

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