I have been there myself – not finding the descriptors that were “promised”, but finding other ones. It took me a while to put it all together in my own head, looking from the perspective of the coffee lover and from the other side – of the coffee professional.
The most important questions I will raising and trying to answer here:
Are coffee descriptors set in stone? Is it something that you will taste for sure the way it is described on a coffee bag?
Do we really need flavour descriptors on a bag of coffee? What is it – helpful information or marketing?
How to make it easier for the customer to buy coffee and enjoy it without feeling incompetent or unable to make a good choice?
Has it ever happened to you: you are enjoying a really really good cup of coffee, incredibly sweet, delicious. And then you comment with your friend about it, who’s having the same coffee right next to you. Bland, sour, empty, he says. Who is right? Who is wrong?
COVID-19 is currently making some changes in how coffee roasters and coffee shops are operating – and among other things it means that we will see a lot of blends in the next year. Coffee blends can be made with different goals in mind – in order to move the stock of the green coffee, to present your clients with a more budget option, to create a sum of parts (blend components) that is tastier than simply each of the origins separately. Blending can be taken very seriously, to maintain the same taste throughout the year, or can be done to simply sell the coffee that is sitting in the warehouse. Let’s dive deeper into what are the coffee blends, and if there is a place for the in specialty segment.
The deeper you are diving into what’s behind the quality coffee, the more you discover. But with coffee, and specialty coffee, our perception has been going backwards, in other words, not from the product to the cup, but from the bitter drink that we happen to see every day at our tables – to how it is actually being produced. First. And then the next question – where does the quality really happen? Does it come from the coffee preparation? Does it come from coffee roasting? Does it come from the roasting equipment? Does it come from the methods of coffee preparation?
Let me ask you something. You are drinking coffee that you know is picked, carried, processed, dried, with care and dedication, coffee touched by innumerous hands, coffee that has multiple faces – will you really care if it is 80 points, or 83 points, or 85 points, or 87? Will you feel significantly less satisfied?
“Educating” (oh how I hate this word) is about showing how much damn effort goes into each single bean. How much effort it takes to carry those damn canastas. How much effort it takes to pick the cherries. How it is to live as a coffee picker, when you have the job only for the 3-4 months of the year, and then you are forced to move looking for a place to earn extra. With kids. With families.
We have more and more people, professionals, posting about specialty coffee. There are simply more qualified people than ever before, and the industry is growing, we, as industry, are learning something new every day. There is more information than ever before. Diverse. Multi-lingual. Plenty.
But. Seems like 80% of our information is coming from less than 1% of professionals posting. What I want to say… We read more, yes, but we read all the same sources. I bet that there will be just a few coffee professionals that will mention more than 10 daily sources of their relevant coffee information.
Is it true that we are educating ourselves to like or to hate different types of food?
Is it possible that by drinking bad coffee we become less, not more, sensitive to its quality?
Can it be that drinking kombucha makes us more prone to not considering overfermentation in coffee being a defect?
In 2020, with the specialty coffee scene booming, all the magazines, coffee specialists, when we are discussing the smallest details of how many holes the paper filter has – so, apparently it is pretty hard to find verified cupping scores when you want to purchase specialty coffee.
There is an approach when you are dividing your line between espresso and filter roasts. The other one is to roast coffee that is to be drank with or without milk, so called milk line, roasts for milk.
I believe that roasting styles are changing a lot, due to the development that we are witnessing in terms of grinders. And roasters as well. But mostly grinders. And my talking here not only about professional coffee shop grinders, but also about some more or less affordable models for home brewers.
What cupping has to do with meditation? Everything!
Those 4 cuppings depend completely on your ability to calm down your mind and stay concentrated throughout those 40 minutes. If you manage to do it – you won. Got distracted – you lost. Cause these is no time to lose, and distracting for 1-2-3 minutes can cost you everything.