An importer of fine foods in Bethlehem will now add bartending education to his mix of skills. Joao DaCosta, the owner of Lehigh Fine Foods, will launch The Mix Bartending School in Emmaus, with a soft opening this Friday.
DaCosta has been importing farm-to-cup coffee, bean-to-bar chocolate, rare olive oils, organic tea and exotic sauces for many years.
Along with online sales, Lehigh Products sells its products at its Bethlehem location and distributes its items for sale at many businesses throughout the Greater Lehigh Valley.
While he will keep Lehigh Products operating, now he is developing a new enterprise, a bartending school.
He plans to offer a 40-hour course to be approved in February or March.
“The school is still going through the application process to receive authorization from the Pennsylvania Department of Education to offer a professional course,” DaCosta said. “Until then, we will offer several non-professional courses about wine, drinks, chocolate, coffee and more.”
DaCosta knew the owners of the Allentown Bartending School and found a need for a new one once the Allentown school closed.
“After Allentown Bartending School closed, I sensed the Lehigh Valley would welcome a new school,” DaCosta said. “I thought, we need a bartending school, why not invest?”
The 1,500 square-foot space will have a bar for 10 students and up-to-date equipment, he said.
Aside from offering courses, The Mix will host a variety of events, such as beer, wine and chocolate tastings.
“It will be a place where people will learn not just about alcoholic beverages but all beverages,” DaCosta said.
People will also learn about the fundamentals of tea, chocolate and other products as well as how to mix drinks and pair them with other foods, he said.
The Mix Bartending School is at 1325 Chestnut St. in the East Penn Plaza Mall, next to Fine Wine & Good Spirits.
He will host an event, The Mix Holiday Market, on Dec. 15 from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., with exhibitors that include local vendors such as Brew Me Box, a subscription box company based in Bethlehem, Chocolate Works Lehigh Valley of Bethlehem Township and The Colony Meadery of Allentown.