Palate Deficiencies

I had a chat today with Aaron DeLazzer, a former Vancouver barista trainer and industry consultant. I bumped into him randomly at the Elysian Room (well, okay, that’s not so random). We quickly introduced ourselves and talked a bit, ranging from what I was doing in Vancouver to the state of the coffee industry.

One thing that was blatant is my palate is still not used to the variety of roast levels and flavor profiles out there. Courtesy of Elysian, I was able to have a sample Clover cup of each of their current offerings and a few sample roasts. These were (and I apologize for the lack of estate names for some) the Panama Carmen Estate, an El Salvador and a Kenyan. There may have even been another. Aaron stated his favorite of all of them was the El Salvador. I can see why this would be appealing. The cup was good, slightly sweet, but quite subtle, which I interpreted as being more muted. I see this as a negative aspect really. Now, I’ll remind my readers who may not be into coffee, that I consider comparing Elysian coffees (or any other good 3rd wave shop’s) to be similar to debating the differences between Audi, BMW and Acura. Some are more appealing to others, for a variety of reasons. It’s all about personal taste. See, I liked the other two coffees a lot more. The Panama Carmen (I guessed what it was without being told!), was excellent, with a positive subtlety about it, a sort of toying acidity near the finish. The Kenyan was crazy. It was huge fruit and acidity, though Aaron said that it was possible that it could have been bordering on sour… or as it was more eloquently put, “a grapefruit” profile was very, very prominent.

So why am I typing all this?

I guess it’s to show that I wouldn’t have identified anything negative about any of the three coffees. Aaron was just pointing out improvements that could be made to the roast level to bring out the coffee further, but I wouldn’t have picked up on it. I guess this is my lack of cupping in the development stages of coffee, and some of these were sample roasts. This is something I’ll need to do, sometime.

But then again, why shouldn’t coffee be a big citrus bomb? It wasn’t at all a negative quality to my taste… I thought it was impressive.

in other news though, I have acquired the obscure, electronic sophomore album of Sufjan Stevens, “Enjoy Your Rabbit”. It’s totally different than anything else of his. Zulu did warn me of it! But even better, is I bought Camper shoes today at Gravity Pope. This company designs my favorite shoes, but they were always out of my price range, until today when I found them on sale. Yay! They are awesome, and so comfortable.

I may be making a trip down to Seattle in under a month for a few days. Any Seattlites in the coffee industry who are interested, I will probably be visiting your shop. Victrola is on my list for sure…


2 Responses to “Palate Deficiencies”

  1. 1 t o n x January 18, 2006 at 10:54 pm

    coolness. Let me know when you’re hitting town. The staff has been talking about doing another cafe crawl and out-of-town visitors can be a good excuse – schedules permitting.

  2. 2 brad January 20, 2006 at 11:33 am

    ooh – seattle cafe crawl! Need a ride down???

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49th Parallel El Salvador La Montaña
Excellent coffee for everyday drinking. Well expressed acidity and classic El Salvador profile.

Bulleit Bourbon
By far the best bourbon available in BC for the price. $35 for a bottle gets you the highest rye content bourbon on the market. Lots of spice and typical bourbon corn sweetness. Excellent on its own, but also makes a mean Old Fashioned. Better than Knob Creek in my books and pretty close to Woodford Reserve.

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