One of the perks [perks, get it?] of working for a coffee company is â€” surprise â€” free coffee! And being the coffee-slurping fiend that I am I take full advantage. I have tasted my way from one end of Green Mountain‘s coffee line-up to the other and back again… no small task as there are about a hundred different origins and blends to choose from.
Most days I’ll taste something from Africa, and something from the Americas, and something from Indonesia. The operative word here is taste… I don’t formally cup coffees every day. When I want to study a coffee more closely I’ll cup it alongside some of it’s neighbors… a blind line-up of Peru and Colombia, for example, or Tanzania and Kenya. In the process I’ve not only learned more about coffee, I’ve learned quite a lot about our coffee and its lexicon of flavors.
Chances are pretty good I could pick Green Mountain’s coffee out of a line-up that included several other roasters’ beans. That’s not to suggest that our coffees are head-and-shoulders above the crowd, or even so very distinctive… they are, however, very familiar to me by now. I call that a testament to our coffee team’s ability to deliver remarkable consistency crop to crop and roast to roast… something I rarely, if ever, manage to achieve when roasting my own coffee.
Of course, one of the factors that started me down the garden path of roasting my own coffee was a rich appreciation for the sheer diversity of coffee’s sensory qualities from origin to origin. And now that I’m finding our own coffees so familiar, I can’t resist the siren song of other roasters’ coffees and the opportunity to discover something altogether new.
And so begins a brave new experiment.
I’ve ordered a number of coffees from GreatCoffee.com. Each of them has been very highly rated by Kenneth Davids, editor of Coffee Review, and among the who’s who of coffee tasters. My objective isn’t to compare them to Green Mountain’s coffees [I don’t know that I could approach that task altogether unbiased – and even if I could, I don’t know that you would have reason to believe I succeeded.]
Instead I’ll look to evaluate each coffee on its own merits… and compare and contrast my own take on the coffee at-hand with those of Ken Davids, himself. His cupping style, like my own, is less technical and more experiential. I won’t be referring much to SCAA’s flavor wheels or Agtron charts, and I absolutely won’t be trying to score a coffee on a 100 point scale.
Stay tuned… and let’s see what happens.