Paradis Ice Cream Cafe brews up free coffee classes for Claremont public

Paradis Ice Cream Cafe, a local institution in the Claremont Village, has hosted free coffee classes for the Claremont public since early September. (Courtesy of Paradis Ice Cream Cafe)

Paradis Ice Cream Cafe, a local institution in the Claremont Village, has hosted free coffee classes for the Claremont public since early September. People of all ages, including 5C students, gathered in the sweet smelling shop to learn about the origins of coffee, its flavor profiles, and brewing methods.

Jose Ramirez and Stanley Soebianto, who own Paradis, have both worked in the coffee industry for over 18 years. They give back to the community by sharing their experiences and knowledge about coffee through their coffee classes.

Ramirez’s interest in coffee began at a young age. Born in El Salvador, Ramirez grew up with family members who owned coffee farms. When he grew older, he started working in a coffee company in Orange County.

“Once you’re in the coffee industry, you never leave,” he said.

Paradis’s most recent class, held Nov. 3, taught the public about different types of cold brew, a newly popular coffee drink. Cold brew, not to be confused with iced coffee, is created by extracting coffee from coffee beans in an ambient or cooler temperature.

Because of the decrease in temperature, the brewing process takes much longer. Brewing can last for 16 hours, and results in a smoother, less acidic taste. Compared to hot coffee, cold brew is less caffeinated and contains less antioxidants.

Like any other coffee style, cold brew comes in different flavor profiles. Attendees of the event had the opportunity to try different types of cold brew. Brewed for 16 hours, the first type came from a French press. The coffee was robust in flavor and smooth in texture. The flavor also tasted noticeably less acidic than hot coffee.

To show us the process of cold brew, Ramirez invited two participants to recreate the French press technique.

Ramirez also provided samples of cold brew from different mass-produced coffee brands. Each had a different flavor profile. Starbucks’ cold brew was smooth, but less flavorful than the 16-hour homemade brew. McCafe and Dunkin Donuts had flavored and sweetened beverages, and their overly sweet notes of vanilla and chocolate replaced the coffee flavor.

When asked about Paradis’ connection to the 5Cs, Ramirez said Paradis offers ice cream at orientation openings and student coupons. For events like the coffee classes, Ramirez ‘tags’ the colleges on social media, hoping students will come.

Even so, Ramirez wants to do more with the 5Cs. One of his ideas is to sponsor events. For example, if a club needed funding, Paradis said he would take 20 percent of their earnings on a particular night and offer it to the club.

“It hasn’t been easy to connect because everyone is busy and it takes time to come out to the Village,” he said.

5C students who came to the workshop said they found the event through Facebook, and came out of interest and their love for coffee. Several agreed that tasting the different coffees was the best part.

“It was nice that he had the demo and had people involved in the whole process of doing cold brew,” Emily Kim HM ’19 said.

Previous event themes at Paradis include ‘Coffee Classes’ and ‘Coffee Flight Around the World.’ Ramirez comes up with these themes by asking attendees what they want to learn.

“There’s so much to learn,” Ramirez said. “You can look up information on Google, but when you actually hear about it and have the opportunity to ask questions, it’s a different experience.”

Ramirez intends to keep up the monthly coffee classes. Ideas for future events include bringing in speakers, such as coffee farmers and champion baristas, to talk about more aspects of coffee culture. Ramirez believes having speakers would create a conversational atmosphere and provide a great opportunity for the public to ask questions.

Ultimately, he enjoys hosting the events because of the opportunity to connect with his customers.

“[Coffee] is a product I feel you have a connection to,” he said. “I always say it’s an emotional product, because when you drink it, it keeps you warm. It’s a warming feeling, calming sensation — emotional in that way.”

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