Today we attended a tasting of the new Stumptown Offerings at Sweatleaf Cafe in Willimasburg. Stumptown has unveiled a new line of offerings. As has been expected for some time, this round was incredibly heavy with Grand Cru. Grand Cru are determined by exceeding a certain score on the Cup of Excellence scoring system. These offerings are balanced, nuanced and largely free of flaws. They are the culmination of the Direct Trade philosophy. Direct trade pays for performance year after year while simultaneously offering the expertise necessary to make those improvements. These farms of the result of years of expertise and experimentation and the yield great beans. The beans are, unfortunately, also quite expensive. The coffees themselves were delicious (even if some have confusing names.)
This tasting was really educational. We taste coffee, but with so many elements affecting taste (Terroir, roast, flaws, washing process, varietal etc, etc, etc) it can be hard to identify how and to what degree a single element effects taste. Today we tasted
1. Different varietals from the same farm
2. A peaberry and normal beans from the same farm, same varietal (Gesha!)
3. Same beans by two different washing process.
4. Different varietals from the same farms.
Only through numerous tasting like this is it really possible to understand the nuances of what go into changing the taste of coffee. Unfortunately, for us, this is only the first step on what is a multi-multi-multi variable calculus of cause and effect in taste.