Archive for the Coffee Cupping Category

Lately

Posted in Coffee Cupping on May 25, 2010 by thatcoffeeguy
Spectacled Bear

Spectacled Bear

Sorry for the late reply from the other post, but I haven’t had anything blow me away recently.  There have been some interesting coffees, but interesting and mind-blowing are very different things when you get the chance to drink as much coffee as I (fortunately) do.

I tasted a Kenya Thicka French Mission Bourbon that was really surprising.  It did everything I thought it was going to: fruity-citrus-bomb from it “being Kenyan,” but also a rounded, smoothed out mouthfeel from it “being Bourbon.”  Quite the interesting cup and tomorrow I’m going to play with it as a single origin espresso shot.

Perhaps the most interesting coffee that has come across the table as of late is a Columbian that I have started calling “The Bear.”  It has to do with a mission that the import company (Cafe Imports) is undergoing to help save the Spectacled Bear (no, not a Speckled Bear, Spectacled) in Columbia.  It’s a pretty cool mission, pretty cool coffee, and, well, it’s a really cool bear.

The coffee itself is really fruited, but balanced.  I haven’t tasted it enough to comment on it a whole lot yet, and the samples I have had have all been very young, but the coffee isn’t as deep and chocolaty as I thought it would be.  It has a really nice cran-cherry jamminess to it and a pleasantly brisk acidity.  If frisky could be used to describe a coffee, it would be appropriate here.  Think about it…

-bry

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Final Burundi Stats

Posted in Coffee Cupping on April 14, 2010 by thatcoffeeguy

Tasted the Burundi offerings for what I believe will be the last time, simply because we have a whole bunch of new offerings that we roasted yesterday that I need to get into, rather than continuing on with coffee that we may or may not carry.

The best summary I can come up with for these Burundi coffees is that they carry the typical profile of an African coffee, but are much cleaner and less dynamic.  It isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  I know I don’t always want over-the-top crazy fruit flavors, but I don’t always want the floral and citrus attributes of a Central American coffee.  These Burundi samples filled that void for me.  Both coffees were very similiar.  I’m not sure I would have picked out much difference at all if I hadn’t known up front that they were different lots.

Coffee drying on "raised beds" in Kayanza, Burundi. (Click for enlarged image)

Final stats for Burundi Kayanza Yandaro Bourbon:
4/12
Aroma: 7.0
Flavor: 7.0
Acidity: 6.9
Body: 7.0
Finish: 7.0
Total 84.9
4/13 (Lighter)
Aroma: 7.0
Flavor: 6.8
Acidity: 6.9
Body: 7.1
Finish: 6.8
Total: 84.7
4/13 (Darker)
Aroma: 6.8
Flavor: 6.9
Acidity: 6.7
Body: 7.3
Finish: 6.9
Total: 84.6

Final Stats for Burundi Kirimiro Mwurire Bourbon:
4/12
Aroma: 7.1
Flavor: 6.9
Acidity: 7
Body: 7.1
Finish: 7.0
Total: 85.1
4/13 (Lighter)
Aroma: 7.1
Flavor: 6.9
Acidity: 7.2
Body: 7.0
Finish: 6.7
Total: 84.9
4/13 (Darker)
Aroma: 6.9
Flavor: 6.9
Acidity: 6.8
Body: 7.2
Finish: 7.0
Total: 84.8

So like I said, nothing over the top outrageous, but some really nice, balanced and overall clean coffees.  We call these coffees “coffee coffees.”

Today I’ll be tasting some of the new Panama offerings that came in and I’ll be reporting on them later in the week.

-bry

Just like Columbus

Posted in Coffee Cupping on April 12, 2010 by thatcoffeeguy

I really fell of the deep end, so to speak, with coffee when I discovered that, for the most part, coffee in my area at the time sucked. It was stale, poorly roasted, and the greens were old and of low quality to start with.

So I started roasting my own.

Now we are trying to break down all of the different components to go into our chocolate blend, and well… crap.

Here’s to roasting cocoa nibs and to Alchemist John who is more or less going to have to hold our hands as we cross the ‘roasting cocoa nibs to perfection’ road.

http://chocolatealchemy.com/

-bry

2152

Posted in Coffee Cupping on April 11, 2010 by thatcoffeeguy

When we receive a new coffee it has an ID number.  In the case of this particular Burundi it was 2152.  Before I go about tasting a coffee I don’t want to know too much about it.  If it’s a farm that I’ve dealt with before then I might start formulating flavors in my mind that aren’t actually present in the cup.  Now, this isn’t the case with this particular coffee, and it was an impossibility that it could have been the case because of my limited exposure to Burundi coffees in the past, but still I thought I would shed light on how unfamiliar we are with a coffee when it’s first given to us as a sample.

So, to get back to the point, this coffee was tagged as Burundi 2152.  After I tasted it I logged onto the importer’s site and read up on the farm and washing station so I could become a little more informed about the coffee before posting my findings here.

Burundi Kayanza Yandaro Bourbon
Bourbons are usually a very buttery, smooth coffee and this one was no exception.

About the farm:
The Yandaro washing station is located in Northern Burundi, near Kayanza on the border of the Kibira National Park.

"Le ville de Kayanza" photo by Irakoze

The farm is located west of the other Burundi I tried this morning.  Just like the other coffee the farms carry an average altitude of 1750 meters and smallholder farms bring their coffee to the washing station.

In the cup:
The coffee wasn’t as dynamic as the Mwurire for me.  Lots of the same characteristics and qualities, and if I broke down the description into flavor terms it would almsot mirror the Mwurire, but everything just wasn’t as pronounced.  It was a little bit more buttery, but that was about it.  The finish was pretty non-existent.

Final Stats:
Aroma: 7.1
Flavor: 6.9
Acidity: 7.2
Body: 7.0
Finish: 6.8
Total: 85

More later.

-bry

Burundi 4-1-1

Posted in Coffee Cupping on April 11, 2010 by thatcoffeeguy

Technically it’s just that today is 4/11, but you know… catchy titles are where it’s at.

Burundi Kirimiro Mwurire Bourbon
In the Cup:
Trail mix.  Yup.  To give a little more detail, we make a trail mix that has dark cocoa chips, sunflower seeds and raisins and this totally reminds me of that.  It’s winey from start to finish.  You grind the beans and it’s red wine.  You add hot water and it’s red wine.  You break into the grounds and start tasting and it’s red wine.  It caught more and more chocolate as it cooled off, which is where it started reminding me more of that trail mix we make.  Also as it cooled, the “grape” part started becoming sweeter and sweeter, which is where it started turning toward sweet tomato sauce for me again.  There was a little flash of blueberry for just a second.  Only caught it once, but it was pronounced enough that it stuck with me.  The finish was clean and simple.  The flavors present in the cup lingered for about 20 seconds and then faded gently.  It was a really pleasant cup.  We have it at a couple different roast levels, the level that I tried today was extremely light. We brought it out of first crack and dropped the beans.

Final Stats:
Aroma: 7.3
Flavor: 7.2
Acidity: 7.4
Body: 7.8
Finish: 7.5
Total: 87.5

Losing a couple points from 1 hour past roast until 12 or so hours after roast is pretty normal.  Right out of the roaster everything is very vivid.  The coffee is really bright and dynamic.  Then those flavors kind of go away for a few days before reappearing in the realm of 72 hours after roast.  We’ll really get a feel for this coffee on probably Tuesday or Wednesday.

-bry

Cupping Session 4/6

Posted in Coffee Cupping on April 7, 2010 by thatcoffeeguy

Today I put two different Ethiopian coffees to the test.

The cupping system that I am most familiar and comfortable with is really, quite basic: fragrance (1-5), aroma (1-5), acidity (1-10), body (1-10), flavor (1-10), and finish (1-10).  At the end of everything you add 50 points to bring it to a score out of 100.

Ethiopia Yirga Cheffe Koke Co-op:
I tried this coffee for the first time yesterday and really wasn’t that blown away, but what a change for today!

About the farm (quoting Tom, our importer):

“Yirga Cheffe coffees are a renowned wet-processed type with effervescent brightness in the cup. This past season, buying Yirga Cheffe coffees from specific mills has been difficult, as the new Ethiopia Coffee Exchange rules took effect and the traditional auction was abandoned. The new rules mean that the coffee suppliers will be paid quickly by the exporters, and there will be a new level of transparency in pricing within the country. But it has also meant that, for the time being, we don’t know the exact mill or farmer group where outstanding lots like this originate. Nonetheless, it is not like great Ethiopia lots have disappeared. And in fact we were able to buy coffees direct from the Unions (the name for a farmers’ cooperative) that are traceable to the source. This is from Koke coffee mill (pronounced Ko-Kay), a part of the Yirga Cheffe Coffee Union.”

In the cup:
Tons of floral right up front.  Lots of rose and jasmine on the nose, interlaced with ripe red cherries.  Adding water increased the intensity of these flavors and also brought forward a smooth sweet chocolate scent.  Upon tasting the cup’s acidity hits right away with a nice snap.  The cup is very clean and the flavors very dynamic, but overall is well balanced.  The nuances present in the fragrance and aroma carry straight through into the cup with the addition of some nice citrus tones, especially lime.  There were also hints of tart apple and the slightest bit of a sweet tomato sauce that I found really interesting and quite pleasant.

Final Stats:
Dry Fragrance: 4.2
Wet Aroma: 4.0
Acidity: 9.0
Flavor: 8.9
Body: 8.6
Finish: 8.8
(add 50)
Total: 93.5

Ethiopian Sidamo Guji Shakisso, Haile Gebre
We already knew this coffee was going to be special just because of the extensive amount of work our importer has done with this farm in the past, but wow, it’s really awesome this year.  Not the top Sidamo I have had this year, but definitely in the top 5.

About the farm (again, from Tom):

This is a coffee from a remote area of the Sidamo district, quite far from where most Sidamo coffees originate. In fact, it is mostly known for the large gold mine in the area, and sadly the local tensions between mine workers and farmers becomes open conflict. The area of Shakisso is on the Guji zone, and when I was in Ethiopia in December, the local conflict made travel there unsafe. Nonetheless, we met the farmer who produces this coffee, Haile Gebre, in Yirg Alem, and we were able get a sample to cup some of this new crop Maduro lot, in anticipation of the following harvest. Maduro? This is a dry-process coffee where extra care has been directed toward harvesting only crimson-purple coffee cherries, a deeper red than the picking point for most coffee fruit. Maduro means mature in Spanish, and I am not sure how that name was adopted for and Ethiopia coffee, but that is the one Senor Gebre chose.

In the cup:
Explosive is really the best word I can come up with for this coffee.  There is tons of fruit in the cup, and for me (didn’t seem to hold as true for Tom) tons of floral aspects as well.  More floral on the nose, more fruit on the tongue.  The fragrance brought me fresh spring lilac and also strawberry.  The aroma, again, heightened these attributes, turning the lilac to honeysuckle and adding a pleasing milk chocolate note.  Also, the addition of water started bringing the spice notes to life for me.  Clove and allspice were what really stood out for me, with faint hints of cinnamon in the background.  The flavor brought a quick burst of floral, but quickly fading into sweet, ripe red berries with candy like sweetness.  There was a hazelnut note in the finish that I didn’t expect to find, but that added a really interesting dynamic along with the previously mentioned flavors carrying through to help keep the cup balanced until the end.

Final Stats:
Dry Fragrance: 4.4
Wet Aroma: 4.5
Acidity: 8.9
Body: 8.5
Flavors: 9.1
Finish: 8.9
(add 50)
Total: 94.3 (no kidding…)

I think I’m going to continue cupping these each of the remaining days of the week to see how they develop as they age.

-bry