RoastBuster's Cupping Club: Sept. '99


As our first attempt at the RoastBusters, things have gone fairly well. Some "guidelines:"





The Coffees Revealed! -My Cupping Results and the Sample's Identities:

This has been really fun and educational! I have recupped the coffees at 18 hours after roasting and 24 hours after roasting. I did 2 roasts on each coffee, City and Full City. The results are in-line with my earlier cuppings as broker samples.


HINTS

Here's a bit of preamble and hints to what the coffees are. I chose 4 coffees from very DIFFERENT origins, with cup character that was unique in this cupping but not OUTRAGEOUSLY unique. In other words (and with one exception) these samples did not contrast eachother in the cup in a "hit-you-over-the-head-and-slap-you-in-the-face" way, so it was a cupper's challange.


Don't scroll down if you still do not want to know the coffee names....







Sample #1

Country:
Dominican Republic
Grade:
1
Region:
--
Mark:
Montana Verde Estate
Processing:
Wet-processed
Crop:
98/99
Appearance:
0d/300gr
16/17scr
Varietal:
--
Dry Frag./ Wet Aroma:
78/75
Notes: Overall the coffee is mild and soft. It is clear it is an island coffee and not from a super high altitude. That said, there is a lot going on in this cup ...even without a huge aftertaste I get a lot of different flavors here. The main flavor is linked to the acidity: grapes, not fully fermented or fresh --somewhere in between. That may bug some people; I like it. Typical Central Am. acidity is judged for clarity, like ringing a bell: here the bell is rung but with your other hand on it the sound is muted. (Sounds corny, but this analogy really describes the taste in this coffee for me). Theres also hints of vanilla and spice (allspice) that lurk behind the fruit.
Brightness- Liveliness:
75
Body- Movement:
86
Flavor- Depth:
83
Finish- Conclusion:
77.5
Roast: While a lighter roast reveals more in the cup, I prefer a Full City to tone this coffee down and bring up some of the nice roast taste.
Score:
79.1
Compare to: Haitian, other fruity island coffees


Sample #2

Country:
Ethiopia
Grade:
4
Region:
Sidamo
Mark:
Horse
Processing:
Dry-processed
Crop:
98/99
Appearance:
0d/300gr
16/17scr
Varietal:
Longberry
Dry Frag./ Wet Aroma:
88/90
Notes: Different from start to finish than the rest of the samples. The fragrance from the dry ground coffee and wet aroma was pronounced. Just as the water is added to the grounds theres a great plume of floral aromatics released. For the City roast I did, this coffee cupped much more delicate than other recent samples of it I have cupped. It wasnt as earthy or fermented as I though hints of those were present. A light chocolate flavor provides a great backdrop for fruit and floral aromatics. I always think of dried apricot when I taste this...
Brightness- Liveliness:
80
Body- Movement:
83
Flavor- Depth:
88
Finish- Conclusion:
85
Roast: City to full city --its delicate and more fruity in the lighter roast, more pungent and spicey in the dark roasts.
Score:
85.6
Compare to: Harar


Sample #3

Country:
Guatemala
Grade:
SHB
Region:
Atitlan
Mark:
Organic, Fair Trade, Songbird Certified
Processing:
Wet-processed
Crop:
98/99
Appearance:
0d/300gr
16/17scr
Varietal:
Typica, Caturra
Dry Frag./ Wet Aroma:
75/83
Notes: By far the brightest, most acidy, nippy coffee. This might not strike you when the coffee is piping hot but let the cup cool, take a deep draw and h o l d it in your mouth, circulating it around the pallete for a minute. See? It almost seemed malty-sweet in the dry frace but the nippy brightness was evident in the wet aroma. A very nice comparison to the type of acidity and fruit present in the Dominican. I just admit the two samples sort of blurred on my pallete and trying to identify the fruit was tough: they both alternately seemed like red grape and then like apple to me. Anyway, I also picked up a jasmine note here. Amazing that the power of this coffee, tangy acidy fruitiness, aith a definite amount of winey ferment too, is so present in the cooler cup, and muted while hot.
Brightness- Liveliness:
85
Body- Movement:
77
Flavor- Depth:
83
Finish- Conclusion:
79
Roast: City to Full City -it can handle the more aggressive roast although in one darker sample I really squashed the character out of this coffee --still not exactly sure what happened there...
Score:
80.3
Compare to: Bright high-grown centrals


Sample #4

Country:
India
Grade:
AA
Region:
Mysore
Mark:
Pearl Mountain Estate
Processing:
Wet-processed (Plantation)
Crop:
98/99
Appearance:
0d/300gr
16/17scr
Varietal:
Kents
Dry Frag./ Wet Aroma:
75 /80
Notes: The aromatics were nice but simple. There were definite nutty aromas in the fragrance and a tad of moist earth in the wet aroma --like peet moss sort of. But the cup had some definite suprises. What seemed simple really was quite stunning and the overall flavor was walnuts with a dry spice, just a faint cinammon. But in the lighter roast the lively acidity took me a bit unawares. It was a strange combination, earthiness, walnuts and acidity --like peanutbutter and pineapple pizza --but I did like it. That brightness was the coffee had a more consistent character when roasted to 2nd crack --just a few snaps of 2nd that is. I could definitely tell that it had a softer mider character of a lower grown coffee. In summary, it was versatile simple but suprising, and delicious!
Brightness- Liveliness:
78
Body- Movement:
83
Flavor- Depth:
80
Finish- Conclusion:
80
Roast: See above
Score:
79.3
Compare to: Indians, maybe some Indonesians like Timor and Papua New Guinea, but aso has the character of some Brazils.


Some comments:

So maybe it seems that Ethiopian Sidamo was my favorite? Sure I love it, but thats not the case at all.

Is it the best coffee in this Roastbuster cupping? Its really like apples and oranges.

These are all coffees I chose from many brokers samples because I like them all for their unique character. So its a bit unfair. I didnt send out a coffee that had a lack of character like many I cup. I certainly didnt send out one that has defective character, and really I dont cup many that do because this is specialty coffee and brokers have already weeded those coffees out (well, at least the ones I buy from). I can do this in the future for educational purposes, it might be fun to send an old baggy sample, or something with a hard note in the cup.

As far as I am concerned, these are all ribbon-winning coffees in their respective categories. As an interesting aside, let me add this. The broker that sold me the Dominican doesnt like it: I disagree! The one that sold me the Pearl Mountain thought it was "nice". I think tis much better than that... The Sidamo raved about it last year but didn't make much ado this year; while last years was good, this years is great! This Atitlan is loved by some but not by all. I am told some roasters hogged it all up, some though it was too winey/fermented.

Anyway, my point is that while I listen to brokers cuppings, I still do the cupping work to find these coffees. If I bought only ones they raved about and avoided those they didnt push I would have a sad, sorry collection of coffee. While it may get a bit tiring to read all my frothy reviews of the coffees, like they are all magnifico (because I did "discover" each one via cupping), remember that YOU may disagree, and if you do you may be able to understand what tastes you like and thusly find a method to choose coffees based on this. Then again, you just might be a COFFEE OMNIVORE like me and like everything that has good pronounced character!

Anyway, hope this first Roastbuster has served you, and we WILL do this again. Let's go to the homeroast list and DISCUSS!


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