It’s Complicated


“Do you know why you like coffee?”

A new international coffee course offered by Greenville History Tours opens with this question, and while it may seem pretty basic, the answer is much more complex than just the function or the flavor.

Greenville History Tours owner John Nolan, who previously attended and enjoyed a coffee tasting in Italy, has added this new course to his lineup of history and culinary tours to highlight one part of the expanding beverage-focused experiences in Greenville. The 90-minute class is held Fridays at 6:30 p.m. at Le Petit Croissant.

The course, led by Vincenzo Antignani, an Italian native and biology professor who combines his cultural heritage with the chemical knowledge of coffee, is designed to answer just about any question you may have, whether you take your espresso black or you add a little coffee to your sugar and cream.

Antignani grew up in Naples, Italy, a culture in which coffee has a long history and is a daily ritual for nearly everyone, but it’s different from what is readily available in the U.S. When Antignani moved to the U.S. in 2009, he started to look for coffee that he would enjoy. He says he tried 50 to 60 kinds in coffee shops and at home, and he couldn’t find one.

He soon came to the understanding that the reason was that he didn’t truly know the coffee he was trying to brew. Thus began his journey to source, roast, and brew the perfect cup.

In the international coffee course, guests will benefit from Antignani’s years of trial and error and research by learning about the primary beans that are used to make coffee, which international countries grow the different varieties, and what the distinct characteristics are from each of these regions of the world.

The class will engage all five senses as guests learn a type of bean’s brewed flavors, smell the aromas of the ground beans, and hear about how to discern the nutty, acidic, fruity, and other types of flavors of the beans.

A key point of the class is to understand the three main factors that influence the taste of each cup of coffee: the source, roasting method, and brewing method.

Antignani says the same bean coming from the same country, roasted exactly the same way, but brewed by two differing methods, will taste completely differently.

During numerous rounds of tastings, Antignani demonstrates several primary brewing methods, including the Italian moka pot and the French press, and how those methods influence the taste of the coffee. He’ll also roast green coffee beans to show the various stages and the final desired color and flavor.

Want to go?

International Coffee Course

Where: Le Petit Croissant, 640 S. Main St., 101B

When: Fridays, beginning Jan. 12, from 6:30-8 p.m.

Cost: $39

For more information: John M. Nolan, owner, 864-567-3940



Related Articles