Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Monday Evening Cupping

During my usual trek to the north in the summer, I of course brought along a good selection of coffees. Denmark, housing some of the best roasteries in Europe, namely Kontra, Coffee Collective and Risteriet. Nuff said, more on this trip later. The cherry on top for this evening being a few bags of George Howell’s terroir I received earlier. Rather than let those coffee’s go stale, Rob invited a few coffee freaks for a cupping session.

To sum up, on the cupping table:

Kontra: La Piñona, 2008 Honduras Cup of Excellence.
Kontra: Sagrado Coraçao, 2008 Brazil Cup of Excellence.
Kontra: Tanzania AA, Blackburn Estate.
Coffee Collective: Aricha lot 2 Yirga Cheffe, Ethiopia.
Coffee Collective: Hacienda La Esmeralda Special Boquete, Panama!!!!
George Howell’s Terroir: Mamuto, Kirinyaga, Kenya
George Howell’s Terroir: La Lainez Cup of Excellence 2008, El Salvador

Nice little line up, no? All of them were pretty lightly roasted, ideal for cupping, now to the highlights.
Kontra was first in the cupping, the Brazil (?) and the Honduras La Piñona were rather disappointing flat but balanced, a turning woody when cooling a little bit, they tasted like they were last year’s crop, not a good start. I’d say they would be better suited for a tad darker roast so that they could be used for espresso. The Tanzania on the other hand was a dark fruit bomb, mainly with blackcurrants and pleasant acidity, although a bit one dimensional.

Next on the table was George Howell’s Terroir coffee. Unfortunately the El Salvador la Lainez was a roasted 3 weeks or a month ago, the aroma had faded. The cup was a bit flat, but still I found soft citrus, raspberry and maybe some apple.
The Kenya Mamuto, an old favorite back on the table was excellent as always, packed with blackberry, blueberry, black current with an underlying sugar cane sweetness and an incredible juicy long pleasant finish. This must be the 5th time I ordered it, that must be a good sign!

Lastly we cupped the Coffee collective, Ethiopian Aricha. WOW this is the most interesting cup I may have had in my life! An explosion of creamy strawberry, clean thick juicy body and this typical natural processed wild earthy undertone.
We reserved the (reported) best for the last, Panama, La Esmeralda special. First you notice the very thick body of this coffee, laced with jasmine, black tea, underlined with a honeyed sweetness. A long resonating finish, very pleasant, very balanced, very clean. I can understand that this was picked as the best coffee of the world. It is as interesting as it is balanced.
Question mark : we thought it had more punch and fruiteness when we just opened the bag on Friday. Can there be lost so much in the 3 days since we popped the bag? It was nicely closed over this period.

Your Antwerp Barista, Jazzy Jeff.

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