Today, I had the opportunity to attend a coffee cupping, including a new coffee bean from Bali that my local coffee shop, Zocalo Coffee House has just brought in. One of the things that coffee roasters face is how to roast a new bean. Every season the harvest brings in new beans, which must have new roast profiles and blends developed. Here is what it is all about, a glass of coffee, ready for tasting.
Cupping is an interesting process with specific timing and processes designed to optimize the tasting of each bean or roast. In the photo above, you can see the variety of colors that form on the crust, these are the oils that carry the aromas of the coffee. This is a key part of the process, with the crust formed and the coffee grounds steeping, you can get a really good sense of the nose of the coffee. This happens to be the El Salvador we cupped today.
For the record:
Bali - Medium roast, Nose is very interesting with chocolate, fruit and meaty notes, no burnt or smoky notes on nose. Flashy and bright, strong flavors of chocolate and red berries with undertones of loam when hot, as it cooled, flavors moved towards blueberry with hints of floral tones. Texture was very nice with a good presence on the tongue. Very abrupt finish, especially notable upon cooling.
El Salvador - Light roast, low extraction, nose in nice/uninteresting. Initial taste is mild and simple without a lot of complexity. Upon cooling, flavors of loam, dried fruit and spice comes forward, this tastes really good at 60F. Texture was light and thin when hot, improving greatly when cool, showing some grip on the tongue.
Ethiopian - Medium roast, Nose is complex showing earth, spice and light floral tones, light sense of smoke is present. Taste was excellent showing a typical African continent profile of cocoa, fruit and nuts, something I like. Interestingly, this coffee cups better when swallowed, it lacks when spit. Finish was excellent and persisted even as it cooled.
CoBra - Blended Columbian Brazilian. The nose was very strong with a pronounced smoky/charcoal aroma. And this is from someone who smells like BBQ all the time. Flavor is intense and highly extracted with strong tones of caramel and smoke. The finish is strong with a gripping acidity and strong drying feeling.