Going Further into Coffee Nerd-dom

by Bushra on April 1, 2012

One time ages ago I was at Barefoot Coffee Roasters in Santa Clara getting the kind of mocha that tends to make me weep from joy, when I picked up a bag of beans that sounded pretty good. It was called “Redcab” and hailed from Brazil. The description read: “Warm spice and subtle floral notes in the aroma. Layers of chocolate and cashew butter with a cherimoya custard-like creaminess. Deep, heavy body with nice sweet finish.”

At home, I made a cup with my French Press. And. it. was. AWESOME.

I’m not sure if you could deduce this from the above, but I loved me some Redcab.

And yet, I should’ve started something back then that I’m only just starting now – increase my coffee nerdistry and pay attention to where exactly my coffee is coming from. Honestly, I am a bit surprised I hadn’t acted on this before considering that I’m already careful of where I buy my beans from, mostly from local coffee roasters, but what if I have a taste for coffees that these cafes sell that come from specific countries?

Therefore, I’m officially taking note of what type of coffee is brewing at the cafes when I get a cup o’ joe. I’ll make a list, check it twice, and using an algorithm, I can chart the countries that produce coffee that my taste buds are more apt to go wild for. Or, I can just look down the list and figure it out without using any math. One of those.

This latest endeavor got a jump start with a personal coffee cupping with Jen, a Coffee Pastor Master (I heard wrong) at Starbucks. A friend of a friend, she was more than willing to do this cupping with me as she used to conduct cuppings quite often.

When I got to her Starbucks early yesterday morning, she had 3 large French Presses filled with coffee and a tray of snacks ready for the cupping. What I didn’t know was that the snacks on the tray were carefully chosen.

As we started, she said that certain foods go better with certain coffees. If you pair coffee with the appropriate type of food, you can really bring out the flavors of the coffee and enhance your overall drinking experience.

Folks? I didn’t know that, even though I have participated in cuppings before.

We went through light, medium, and dark roasted coffees and had almonds, chocolate caramels, and blueberries with them, respectfully. Each time, we first smelled the coffee, slurped it once, took a bit of the appropriate snack, and then took another sip. All three coffees had their own taste to them, which was amplified when eating the snack that was paired with it. Granted, my unrefined nose and tongue sometimes had issues picking out the distinctive notes (which I’m told takes time anyways) but the difference when sipping the coffee while taking in the right food was unmistakable.

She then brought out two more coffees that are part of their Reserve coffees. From Ethiopia, these coffees had a citrus taste that was hard to miss. Paired with a bit of the lemon loaf, the citrus in the coffees really came out and when poured over ice, the Ethiopia Sidamo blend turned into a refreshing lemony drink! Who knew?! I wasn’t expecting that at all.

So here it starts or, rather, continues. I’m going to keep on taking note of all the coffees I’m drinking and attend more cuppings if I can. Let the transformation from a coffee bumpkin begin…

Coffee Cupping

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Tony April 2, 2012 at 11:51 am

That is awesome. At one time I was on the path to Coffee Mastery. I chose proposals instead. Haha. One day you will own a coffee shop I bet.

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Bushra April 2, 2012 at 12:40 pm

Haha, who knows!

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maria April 3, 2012 at 4:43 am

I love this post, as I love coffee! But I had never heared of “cupping” before. Very interesting!

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Bushra April 3, 2012 at 9:19 am

Thanks for reading! I only first heard about cuppings maybe a year or so ago myself. It’s possible that a coffee shop near you may do a cupping now and then. It’s pretty interesting!

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Monica Roy April 3, 2012 at 11:42 am

You know you are truly a Bay Area-an when you’ve gone this deep into the artisanal aspect of something ;).

You wrote about the experience in a way that made it easy for a reader to relive.

I would be interested in participating in one of these with you. I’ll just need to plan on not sleeping that night, given my extremely low caffeine tolerance.

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Bushra April 3, 2012 at 12:37 pm

Thanks Monica :)

We should go to Blue Bottle on a Sunday sometime – they have a cupping at 2pm that is open to the public!

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Cartoon Muslim April 5, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Ohhh that’s so cool! When you go cupping, does the coffee you taste have sugar or is it pure black. I need to level up my coffee nerdness.

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Bushra April 6, 2012 at 9:44 am

At a cupping, the coffee is always black! I had to get used to it too so I’m sure you can as well ;)

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