These coffees were samples from Seed of Hope Coffee out of Thailand. Ryan Stowell and his crew are helping farmers grow coffee as an alternative crop in a region that was once largely controlled by the opium trade. We really liked the intensity of the dry-process coffee — the fruity flavor may be a bit too much for single origin, but the quality is there. The washed beans we tried were warmer, carameled and incredibly smooth.
Cuppings are the coffee world’s version of wine tastings, and often veer into a realm of snooty self importance. We prefer to keep them pretty low key. Here’s the process: We do a coarse grind of about 8 grams of coffee and add 140ml of 200º water. We use no filter, so that we can be sure we’re getting the whole flavor and feel. It’s essentially cowboy coffee.
We pour the water over the coffee. There’s no stirring per se, but pouring from a gooseneck kettle circulates the grinds and makes sure all the coffee is wetted. After about four minutes, a crust forms on top of the coffee (see main image above where there’s a slight mound in the cup). We break up the crust and carefully remove it, and let the cup sit for another eight minutes.
Then we taste carefully with a spoon (otherwise it’s a mouthful of grinds) and take notes. I like to go back and forth to the bag to smell the beans and see if my initial thoughts hold true.
That’s where most cuppings end, including this one. But it’s essential to also brew any new coffee the way you’re likely to drink it. At Gato, we make French press, espresso and pour-overs with new coffees to see how they taste in the real world. Hopefully we’ll be bringing these to your real world soon. We’ll keep you posted.