I’m not going to recap the night as a linear event, but there are a few things we did that I think are worth noting, some merely out of interest, others in the case you ever find yourself hosting a similar event.
We rented one hundred 2 oz espresso cups from a local party supply store.
With 11 different coffees on the table throughout the chorus of the night, they worked perfectly. Had the cups been bigger, people might have OD’ed.
We went through 2 flights, resulting in 11 different coffees. Each flight consisted of 5 coffees brewed by a press and then transferred into an air pot, and a single origin espresso. The air pots were marked only with a letter, as the tasting was done completely blind. Having 5 different coffees and an espresso all at once kept a great flow as people could pick and choose whichever coffee they wanted to taste without being rushed.
Over at the espresso bar, I pulled all the shots as either a straight espresso, or if they wanted milk, a Gibraltar. Most people had both. (correct choice.) Ecco’s Beloya was fantastic (especially in a little milk) and really wowed a lot of unsuspecting people.
Everyone got their own little pieces of paper to write down their own tasting notes as they went along, but for me the funnest part was having a giant white board in the middle of the cafe, on which anyone could write whatever they were tasting in the coffee. What started as a blank thought cloud turned into a full flavor profile shortly only moments after the tasting began. What’s best to me is that the board allowed people to share their thoughts anonymously (more or less.) and I feel a lot of times, especially when you are new to cupping/tasting, it is easy to become very quiet or doubt yourself if someone before you says something in contradiction to what you tasted. The white board eliminated that problem, and as such, both the newbie’s and the experienced opinions were discussed without any bias. The idea came from seeing a white board in pictures of James Hoffman’s “Taste of Canada”. I can only imagine they did the same sort of thing.
After everyone had gone through each coffee in the flight, we all gathered round and Brent Fortune talked about each of the coffees – where it’s from, the processing method used, the roaster, flavor profile info, and whatever else seemed relevant at the time.
We didn’t stop tasting coffee until about 9:30pm, which a lot of us paid for dearly early that night and the next morning. I know I did at least – totally worth it though. To all those who lasted until the end, we had a bunch of cured meats and a mini beer tasting as well.
Thanks to everyone who came and tasted and to those who helped out. And of course, Brent Fortune, for supplying all the coffee.
Navid said the mess at the end of the night was like the morning after a house party. I concur.