The Food Biz: Local slayer

Barista Parlor to offer a glimpse at its exclusive espresso machine this week

The much-anticipated Barista Parlor in East Nashville will start the coffee flowing this Saturday, opening its doors for a preview as part of the celebrations of national Record Store Day.

See, one of the coffeehouse’s neighbors on Gallatin Road is The Groove record store, and Record Store Day has become the biggest day of the year for vinyl enthusiasts and indie music fans.

Barista Parlor’s Andy Mumma says the day is a big deal in the neighborhood, so it provided a perfect opportunity to do a one-day soft opening before the grand opening on May 4.

Mumma worked at coffeehouses for years before deciding to open his own place with the help of his wife Kimberly. He promises an artisan coffeehouse with some of the best gear in the world, including a custom-made, handcrafted Slayer Espresso machine out of Seattle, the first in our region.

“I want to open people’s eyes that coffee doesn’t have to taste bitter and over-roasted,” Mumma said. “There are flavors in there, and we want to showcase them.”

Meanwhile, Mumma (pictured here) is working with another neighbor, Porter Road Butcher, to create gourmet snacks to serve with the coffee.

Barista Parlor will serve breakfast every morning, and the chefs from Porter Road, Chris Carter and James Peisker, will provide seasonal casseroles and breakfast sandwiches.
Mumma also plans to offer a selection of single-source chocolate bars from around the world.

As for the coffee, there won’t be any lukewarm urns sitting around. All the java will be prepared fresh by the cup. For regular coffee, methods include Chemex and a siphon pot. But when it comes to espresso, it’s all about the Slayer.

Slayer Espresso machines, which can check in at around $18,000, are built by hand in Seattle by a coffee roaster and technician named Jason Prefontaine. There are only a couple dozen in the United States.

Mumma said a new twist he’s added to the brewing is that he’s installed an advanced filtration system that allows him to dial in the precise percentage of minerals to be left in the water. He says that allows the best results in extracting the flavors from the espresso.

On Saturday, Mumma will be displaying the wonders of cold-brewed drip coffee, which he makes using a Kyoto-style apparatus. It takes at least 12 hours of slow brewing to make a batch, but he said it makes some of the most flavorful iced coffee around.

As for the ambience, Mumma has been working hard on the interior, creating a central bar he said hints at “an old-fashioned cocktail bar.” Baristas will work in the center of the room, and the customers, if they choose, will sit circling the bar, watching their coffee being prepared and quizzing the experts about the process. There will also be seating around the room.

The d├ęcor includes lots of reclaimed wood, and the leftover lumber has been used to assemble a striking 30-by-8-foot sign in the shape of an anchor, designed by artist Bryce McCloud of Isle of Printing. That means the coffeehouse, though set back slightly from Gallatin, will be hard to miss.

McCloud also created Barista Parlor’s cheerful logo.

Barista Parlor is at 519B Gallatin in East Nashville. The soft opening will be 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, April 21. The grand opening will follow on May 4. For updates, follow Barista Parlor on Facebook or Twitter.

Speaking of coffee, a new independent coffeehouse is working to open its doors in Green Hills. As my Scene colleague Nicki Wood reported, The Well is taking over the former Burger King site at 2035 Richard Jones Road.

The Well is not just a typical commercial endeavor. It’s a nonprofit, founded as an explicitly Christian project to sell coffee to raise funds to help provide clean drinking water and other assistance to people in impoverished countries.

You can follow the project on Facebook, where, for example, the organizers revealed a weathered barn they are dismantling to provide reclaimed wood to decorate the cafe’s interior.

The Well expects to open in May, but they’re already selling whole-bean coffee on their website, wellcoffeehouse.org.