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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Coffee Corner: Coffee Cupping at Gary's Coffee

 A coffee "cupping" at Gary's Coffee, just one of the classes and events hosted at the shop.
"Cupping" is the technique for tasting coffees used by coffee industry professionals like raw coffee quality graders, coffee buyers and coffee roasters. Jennifer Prince from Stumptown Coffee Roasters in Portland made the trek to Eugene's own "Gary's Coffee" to introduce some of us local coffee enthusiasts to the art of cupping. Cupping provides a uniform method, a standard for experiencing and communicating flavor components and other characteristics of this complex concoction. To give us some frame of reference we can look to the world of wines. While wine connoisseurs enjoy any combination of a thousand flavor components found in the fermented grape, coffee boasts three times the flavor components just waiting to be detected, extracted and enjoyed!

Brenda Cervantes of Gary's Coffee sets up for the cupping

It was a real treat getting to taste a variety of single origin coffees from around the world. Unlike some coffee roasters that boast "fair trade" practices with third world coffee farmers, Stumptown buys their coffee directly from the farmers themselves, eliminating middlemen and ensuring that the farmers that toil and labor to produce the coffee are the ones that reap the financial rewards also. 
Cupping focuses us in on the five areas of coffee tasting; aroma, flavor, body, acidity and the overall impression you get from the cup. 

Below: Jennifer from Stumptown Coffee Roasters prepares coffee for cupping.

I was so impressed with Stumptown's coffees I decided to special order some of their Ethiopia Michelle to brew at home.

The coffee cupping was fun and it was nice meeting Jennifer, her passion for coffee was contagious! Along with the people I got to meet and spend time with, the most exciting thing I came away with was the beginnings of a coffee vocabulary to be able to put the aromas, flavors and textures of coffee I'm experiencing into words. Here's a link to a site where you can find a coffee "flavor wheel"- http://www.atdcusa.com/flavor.html

Gary's coffee has some more fun events planned and I encourage you to stop by for a drink and see what's coming up next at Gary's. Thanks again to Brenda at Gary's Coffee for hosting the cupping! 

If you can't wait until Gary's Coffee's next cupping, here's a video that will step you through the process.

Gary's Coffee is located on High Street directly across from the 5th St. Public Market.

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