This past Saturday was my coffee Saturday. I had a tour of the roastery at La Prima. Then my first cupping session at Aldo Coffee. It was really a great time.
The tour at La Prima consisted of 25 people. I really liked the makeup of the group. They were people that I wouldn’t mind hanging out and having a cup of coffee with. Phil was great to watch and talk to while he roasted the coffee. One comment during the talking session that has stuck with me – Matt said, “When customers come to the coffee bar and ask for a strong cup of coffee, it is usually hard to know what they are referring to. Strong in acidity, in body, in taste?” (Don’t let this thought go, I’m going to address it.)
At Aldo Coffee, Rich and Melanie as well as the baristas there were very friendly and great to be around. There was only three of us in the class – a newly wed couple and me. It was first experiencing cupping. I would even say that it was my first experience tasting real specialty coffee – coffee roasted to bring out the characteristics of the particular beans. It was a real education to my palate. I liked the challenge to distinguish the nuances with each cup.
One particular coffee was from Kenya. It had a very fruity and floral aroma and taste. Being my first experience of specialty coffee, I would say that it was an attack to my tastebuds. I liked that challenge to my palate. But I also considered, “Would I want that kind of palate attack every morning?” My quick answer was no. It was too novel. Give me something a little more balanced. The novel I will drink once a week or in the evenings to maintain its novelty.
That was Saturday. Today is Sunday. My thoughts never really solidify until at least 24 hours of processing. Here is my thought today: I’m not sure if many of the friends and family that consider themselves coffee drinkers would like the many of the specialty coffees. Many would consider them “weak” even approaching the taste of tea. Rich at Aldo Coffee even said that some people don’t like the Panama Esmeralda because it tastes like Earl Grey Tea!
So what to do? I think my coffee drinking friends and family would like the challenge to their tastebuds, but I don’t think they will ever give up whatever it is they consider to be “strong” or “bold.” So what is that? The body of the coffee? The carbon content in the darker roasts? I’m not sure yet.
Maybe the overly dark roast that Starbucks does to all of their beans was their answer to the question. I think the answer is the bridge to the gap between the average coffee drinker and the specialty coffee drinker.
I am going to see if Cafe Americano – a shot of espresso put into a cup of hot water – is a step in the right direction. Maybe there is something in espresso that will bridge the gap.