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…