Terminology at its “best” follow-up: The Cupping

three out of four

After I wrote the article this morning, I got more and more interested in trying the Kenya from SB. Damn you SB, you got me, well played. We went in, hoping to be surprised, and to some degree we were. I cannot thank the staff at SB enough for being so hospitable. They did two completely fresh, full french presses of the Kenya and a “Willow” “blonde” roast for us, full service and ultra polite about the whole thing. Bodum presses, pre-heated glass, 3 minute immersion time, well ground and dosed, an ideal experiment! We went outside and cupped. Here were our notes:



Ryan:  Poo, ash

Luke:   Hard and old

Kyle:   Blanched Kale

Daniel:  Decomposing Wood

James:  Dirt and a log


Ryan: Mild berry

Luke: Floral

Kyle: *coffee*, decent with little expectations

Daniel: Bright (ish)

James: Flowers

General Consensus:

Kenya = smell and aftertaste was like moldy peanuts or left-over steamed vegetable water

Willow = passable flavor with hints of brightness

Alright, so obviously we are not fans of SB coffee, generally speaking. This is in no way an insult towards the staff who did a fantastic job, but more of a shot at the roasters. Massive batches, low quality control, over roasting, etc. Much love to my friends who work for Starbux.

What was fun about this adventure was all different tastes we each described. At the store, though I encourage people to use cupping notes as a guide, but I really push for people to make up their own opinions and ideas about what they are tasting. I am not great at describing specific flavors, so I usually just try to understand coffee in comparison to something simple; a fermented flavor, for instance, reminds me of the flavor and feeling of whiskey. While cupping these two coffees, everyone had their own opinion and a good time coming up with ideas. We all tasted something different, coffee is fickle. I guess this alludes to the useful/lessness of cupping notes for the average drinker. Some people don’t always have well developed plattes, and that shouldn’t discourage them from trying a wide variety of coffees. It is great to have your own opinion and it can be totally different from what you see on the label! Often times, it is.


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