I promised you no new content for one week in yesterday's blog post, but the problem is that I spend my life stumbling upon Starbucks content. I swear I don't plan it, but it constantly happens. Today (3-16-2010) I had arranged to take the day off because I knew that a Starbucks partner from Wyoming (Brad Kovach) was coming into Seattle and we wanted to cup at 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea. Lo and behold, included in the cupping was Starbucks Sumatra Siborong-Borong coffee. To be honest, I didn't even know that this existed before today. The flavor notes I discovered in the Sumatra Siborong-Borong were a hint of basil, and some green fresh herbal grassy tones. It was a bit like having a non-spicy Thai dinner. It was mildly acidic. Of course, I could be completely wrong, and I think I was somewhat influenced by the packaging and a poor sense of taste due to allergies acting up. I don't know when this coffee will be released, but I think I recall someone saying it could be a future seasonal coffee offering at Starbucks. Given the packaging of the coffee (not packaged as a Clover offering), I would guess it is a 'coming soon' seasonal offering.
This is the third time I've written about "cuppings" - The other two blog entries are here:
Your introduction to a cupping: Arabian Mocha Sanani (this blog entry has a good description of what a "cupping" actually is.)
Please remember that a "cupping" and a "tasting" are two different coffee experiences. Both are important to your personal coffee education experience, but they serve slightly different purposes. The coffee "tasting" is usually two or three coffees prepared by a French press, and then actually consumed by the coffee drinker. A "tasting" may include pairing the coffee with food and then a discussion of how the food pairing alters the flavor of the coffee. A "cupping" is often a larger number of coffees brewed side by side with a very specific brew method, and then tasted with a slurp (usually the coffee is spit out and not swallowed) working from the lightest roast coffee through to dark coffees and then finally blends. I highly recommend the "Introduction to a Cupping" blog post for more discussion of this. In many ways, a traditional "cupping" is close to what wine enthusiasts do when they're wine tasting. A "cupping" is the industry standard for determining the appropriate roast profile for a bean, and for creating the language found on the package which says words like "sweet" " bold" "earthy" and "herbal".
Also, if you've enjoyed this blog entry, you may also enjoy the previous Sumatra entry about the unique coffee processing method for the Sumatra coffee cherry:
I have a previous blog post on a coffee tasting here:
This dang blog takes up way too much of my time, so now I am really going to take a one week break. It is an amazing amount of work to constantly come up with content, and for sure, some day I will just run out of content!
A few photos from today's cupping: