We may have differences of opinion in some matters but Chris Tacy – the creator and curator of the coffee blog God Shot – and myself certainly agree on one thing: you gotta taste! And I mean comparatively. Side by side. One next to the other. It’s really the very best way to get to get at all of the nuanced differences in flavor from one bean to the next.
If I could afford to or if my conscience could sustain the waste that would inevitably occur, I would buy a minimum of three bags of beans for each one I buy now, brew them all up at the same time, in the same way and go from one to the other and back again, sussing out every little difference and every little similarity between the lot. You haven’t really tasted coffee until you’ve comparatively tasted coffee.
Officially, this comparative tasting thang is called “cupping” and if you love coffee and haven’t participated in one yet, you really need to treat yourself. Now, there are many opportunities out there (and when I say “out there”, I mean in my neck of the woods: the San Francisco Bay Area) to cup at one of the many fine roasters and/or purveyors of our excellent local coffees but there aren’t many opportunities to get together and casually cup with, simply, a group of like-minded people that are mostly unaffiliated with the coffees on offer or, for that matter taste coffees, in said atmosphere, that hail from roasters located all over the globe. Not many at all.
So when I polled Mr. Tacy for more information about what I thought was going to be, exclusively, a group session of tamping and shot-pulling and found that, instead, it was to be more of a 50/50 espresso and cupping session and that the selection of coffees was going to represent roasters from as far afield as London’s Square Mile Roasters (who’s Aida Grand Reserve simply blew me away earlier this year) I jumped at the chance … and then I jumped back. The date, the date! As I told Mr. Tacy, I’d attend but I might not have a fiancé any longer: our engagement party is the same day. Priorities, people.
The San Francisco Home-Barista Get Together: 17th of July in SoMa. For more information, give ’em a shout-out over at Home-Barista.com riiiight here.
Go. And tell me what you think.