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Coffee Cupping at Tierra Farm

February 4, 2015

by Jessica LePore

A small group gathered around a table Wednesday night eager to taste and smell different coffees, as well as hear the history and process of each blend.

An inaugural coffee “cupping” took place at Tierra Farm, on Madison Avenue, right next to the Madison Theater. A cupping event will take place every first Wednesday of each month at 5 p.m.

The farm sustainability coordinator and co-farm manager, James Manning, started out the night telling those in attendance where each coffee was grown and showing where each region is located on a map. Not only did he tell the group about background, but he also shared unique information on coffee in general.

James Manning preparing the coffee/Jessica LePore

James Manning preparing the coffee/Jessica LePore

“Another interesting fact about the roasts is you actually get more caffeine in the light roasts,” Manning said.

The coffee blends that were used for the cupping were Papua New Guinea, La Laguna, Winter Warmer Blend, Ethiopian, and La Gloria. Each blend was unique in itself and gave a well-rounded feel to the tasting and smelling because there was so much variety.

Geoff Miller, another Tierra employee, freshly ground each coffee and put them in separate containers on the table and let everyone know we were able to take turns smelling each coffee.

The first component to the night was smelling the grounds of the coffee, called the “dry aroma”, by wafting it to get each coffee’s true smell. After smelling each coffee the group was shown a chart of “describing” words for a flavor profile in general.

Helping to identify words for the smell and tastes of each coffee was the “Taster’s Flavor Wheel” which displayed a variety of words and describing factors that coffee can taste and smell like. Every one in attendance was able to look at this colorful wheel to assist them in the process.

“But actually if you look on here some of the flavors are pretty intense,” Miller said pointing to the flavor wheel.

Black cherry, smoked, dark chocolate, and nail polish are just some of the adjectives given by the  wheel to provide context for what everyone was smelling and tasting. It gave the samplers more to say about each coffee rather than just saying if they liked it or not.

Erica Georgeo smelling each coffee/Jessica LePore

Erica Georgeo smelling each coffee/Jessica LePore

After the dry aroma portion was finished, the next step was the “wet aroma” where each coffee was brewed right there and a spoon was used to smell the brewed coffee.

Finally, each person was able to taste the brewed coffee, using his or her own cup and spoon, and then each participant described the flavor. Manning told each person to make sure to use the “slurping” sound when tasting each brew to ensure the mouth got all of the flavors.

One coffee tasted “lemony,” according to Erica Georgeo of Albany. She loved it so much she purchased it after the coffee cupping ended.

The entire event lasted just under an hour and was mostly center around conversation.

Manning told participants he hoped that everyone most importantly learned  that there are three main components to coffee, “where it comes from, the roast and the way it tastes.” -30-

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