The cupping began in earnest. The tasting was a blind one, with the coffees unidentifiable except by number. We first looked at the unroasted beans to determine whether there were any blemishes. We then inspected the roasted beans. These were ground, and we inspected the quality and aroma of the grind. Then each grind was put into its own French press, and hot water poured in. We sniffed each brew and noted our observations about the aromas that we perceived. Then the brew was stirred and we sniffed again. Finally, each brew was poured into a separate cup. Since there were eight persons, this required forty cups!
At the end of the cupping procedure, the coffee growers were asked to leave the room and I never saw them again. After they left, there was open discussion about the coffees that we had just had tasted. The verdict about the best coffee was unanimous: it was the Geisha coffee from the Don Pachi Estate. What each person perceived in aroma and taste, however, varied widely from person to person. Comments on this coffee included “good equilibrium,” “beautiful complexity,” “body not too strong,” and “extremely floral.” Others identified specific aromas, such as malt, caramel, and Muscat grape. Indeed, it was one’s duty to identify specific aromas, as there were aromas listed on the evaluation sheet to be checked. I, for one, failed at this. The best that I could truthfully say was that it tasted “fruity.” To be sure, I found this coffee to have a wonderful compelling flavor. I would like to be able to try it again and again until I can identify specific aromas. Unfortunately, Geisha is a rare bean in the world of coffee, and I probably will not come across it again.
At the end of the cupping exercise, which lasted about two hours, Gloria announced that we had just attended the longest tasting in the world. She explained that at professional tastings, where coffee is selected for purchase, the tasting is very rapid, because a lot of coffees have to be sampled. I was happy to have gotten the opportunity to participate in this slow tasting and to have sampled the marvelous Geisha bean!
This is the last post in the series entitled “Coffee Tasting at Café Procope”.
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