Thursday, May 17, 2012

Decaf Ethiopian on the Cupping Table

Cupping class participants.
May 11, 2012 - Day 2 of the Michigan Coffee Conference
On Day 2 of the Michigan Coffee Conference I assisted the instructors of the cupping class, Allen Leibowitz, Zingerman's Coffee, and Sally Rivera, Cafe Imports. They had lined up 7 fine coffees for the the classes that day. We labeled each with the origin: 2 Colombian, 1 Nicaragua, 1 Sumatra, 1 Ethiopia, 1 Kenya and 1 Brazil. But there was still an element of blind cupping -- "there are 2 surprises on the table" they hinted.

Turns out the Ethiopia was a decaf and one of the Colombians was a $24/lb (green) geisha grown in Colombia. Unfortunately, the decaf Ethiopia distinguished itself in the cup has "going flat" very quickly, disappointing after it's bright fragrance and initially satisfying flavor of nuts and berries. The geisha went off the charts in the other direction. It was off the charts in juicy berries and apples, mixed with chocolate and nutty toast with a bold, rich body and finish. All in all the coffees were a great way to teach cuppers about the unique qualities of different origins and at the same time, see how cupping really highlights the best and worst of any coffee.

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