Archive for March, 2006

More Cup of Excellence?

Today I participated in an informal cupping and tasting of the top 3 lots from the 2005 Brazil Cup of Excellence over at chief Coffeegeek, Mark Prince’s place. Present were Elysian’s Jake Moss, Aaron Delazzer and JJ Bean’s Angie Lof. Also around were two local coffeegeeks not in the industry. To anyone unfamiliar with the recent results of the Cup of Excellence auction for Brazil this year, the top lot received the highest score for a CoE coffee and was sold for the highest price ever recorded for a CoE coffee: $49.75 US per pound of green coffee. Estimations thrown around for the price of it per pound roasted have reached $120 CDN. But, the company who purchased it has announced it will be sold for $5 CDN per cup off of their Clover. The other two lots,

I arrived in time for the cupping which involved 3 cups of each of the 3 lots (Fazenda Santa Inês, Fazenda São Benedito and Sitio São José, respectively in the order of their international jury ranking). Angie gave a quick demo and explanation of cupping for the folks who hadn’t done it before, and then we got to breaking the crust. I (unknowingly) broke the crust of the number one first. Huge aroma though I am finding it hard to classify any of these into the proper terms used by cuppers and “poets” as I like to call whoever writes those lavish descriptions of coffees.

Not knowing which coffee was which, we went around slurping and spitting these sought after coffees with the occasional cleansing swirl of Blu Galvanina (or in my case, Borsec) sparkling mineral waters. All of us kept silent (for the most part), adding to an overshadowing thought of what coffee was really the number one. After we were done (and this was a while), we started to talk. Everything from ranking the coffees to the characteristics of particular cups to the overall flavor profiles was discussed.

It turns out I chose the reverse order for the lots. I chose for my number one the number three. But that’s cool. The São José had a very bright acidity and much more comparable to a high grown Central American coffee (as Angie pointed out, my biases will reflect my rankings, and yes, I prefer the centrals). The number two was very mild, huge body and was more typical of a Brazilian coffee. I like it, and I have a bit of the batch used in the cupping as well as some of Andrew Barnett of Ecco Cafe’s roast of it which was couriered to Mark’s door today.

So the number one… it was very good, and I can see why it was chosen as the number one. I’m not embarassed nor disappointed that I chose it last of the three. I don’t have the cupping experience nor the origin experience required to pick out the best of three of the best coffees in the world… oh well. The espresso I had, pulled off of Mark’s LM Linea, was superb, and yes it was the Inês. Very, very good.

I’m really coffeed at the moment, and I need to take a break from this. Probably I’ll try to study physics and then end up watching Family Guy or something. I may post more thoughts on CoE and other coffee news.

I would like to publicly thank Mark for putting this event on. We managed to raise $175 US for Coffee Kids in the process!

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Now on tap: Cup Of Excellence

So I decided that I better get a new post up with the podcast being uploaded to the net… traffic is higher today than it has been for awhile!

I got a chance today to taste the number one Bolivian Cup of Excellence coffee, the Juan de Dios Blanco, roasted by my friends (okay, so I don’t know any of them) at Intelligentsia. My meeting with Juan occurred at the Elysian Room, where it was brewed very well on their Clover. It’s a very nice coffee, though I must say it did not top the Yemen Mocha Sanani I had over there earlier in the year which is to date my favorite coffee off of the Clover. The Bolivian was subtle, as are all of these upper echelon coffees that I have tried, with a good level of sweetness to it. Brad described it as caramel, or later, toffee. I’m not too sure about that, though it’s probably a bit closer than Intelligentsia’s honey description. Maybe my palate just sucks. I think it was more of a demerara sugar… I had a bit of the John Sanders roasted George Howell Kenya Karagato as well. This is one of my favorite regular coffees off of the Clover.

Hmm… saying this makes me realize how privileged I am. I may have to set something up with either Brad or Alistair for regular shipments of coffee for the summer when I go back home to Calgary. Four months without great coffee? Yikes. (Or, maybe Shaun can hook me up, eh Shaun?)

Well, for now my supply is the number 15 lot in the 2005 Colombia Second Harvest Cup of Excellence, Omar Antonio Pérez Gómez’s El Lechal ($3.85 per pound green) roasted by Intelligentsia and Cinco Estrellas, a small lots Peruvian coffee from the best of the Cruz del Sur competition put on by Intelligentsia. The week shall be full of caffeine.

And to any new readers, welcome, and thank you for stopping by, here’s a 12 oz latte I poured earlier today.

Upcoming appearance

I’ve participated in a recent roundtable podcast with Mark Prince of coffeegeek.com. According to Mark, the show should be up on Friday the 17th, so keep an eye out for it. We talked about a wide variety of topics, including the Aerobie Aeropress, the Vibiemme Domobar and the Vancouver scene. You should check it out.

Other than that, I’ve managed some of those thick leaf art pours characteristic of places like Elysian and Victrola. I’ll see if I have pics later.

New level?

Maybe it was technique related. That is, my ability to pour glossy cappuccino foam into Black Cat. This past weekend, I don’t think I necessarily changed anything in my overall process, but more my approach to drink building and I got some awesome cappuccinos poured. I think I have achieved a new level with my own approach to drink making. The drinks spoke for themselves, and I received a few heart warming compliments. I love that.

Anyways, I am ill, unable to taste coffee, so my pound of the Melange Microlot is not giving me nearly as much pleasure as it should be. At least I got several presses in before my olfactory centres shutdown.

Congratulations to Jim Hoffmann (I spelled it right!) who won the UK Barista Championship. Some of his postings on coffee forums have been incredible, including one related to my previous crema chemistry post on the chemistry of milk. I still need to dig deeper and think harder about some of these things. Still have a long way to go…

Quick Clover

Stopped by Artigiano’s Hornby location. It was packed with a line to the door and noisy. Awesome to see that kind of vibrancy in the middle of a weekday afternoon! Anyways, I meant to commend them on their Clover offerings. I had the Colombia Cup of Excellence Palacio, the number 4 of the past auction. It was very very good. Great profile, covered all that the information sheet mentioned. It’s too bad it’s not closer. Mind you, I do have the Elysian for a Clover…


On tap

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.

The Phonograph

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