After a really tasty lunch, we headed off to the cupping workshop with David Williamson. We were presented with the top five Cup of Excellence coffees from the second harvest Colombia this year and asked to try grade them as we think the judges might have. THis was particularly interesting as we weren’t looking for what we personally preferred but more for which coffees stood out or had more character. I got 6 out of ten which I’m happy enough with. We then tasted a flight of Brazils ranging form your some rough robusta to some very pleasing and not so pleasing daterras. The daterra bruzzi was particularly good. Putting our cupping spoons aside we then turned our attention to the brand new clover installed the previous day. As far as I know this is the first cover to come into the UK or Ireland and it was great to play around with some of the variables and get such quick feedback.
The last workshop of the day and possibly my favourite was the sensory one with Dr. Eduarda Cristovam. After a brief chat on coffee freshness and the challenges in calibrating a human being for sensory tests, especially in coffee, we were put into a special room for some tasting. We were each shown to a table, where under infrared lighting to take the visible aid out of the equation, we had to grade four different espressos under freshness. WE had as much time as we liked and had the coffees passed through sliding doors in the wall as we munched on crackers clean our palettes. It was a lot more difficult than I expected but a great learning experience. We then had to identify three differnt aromas from sample viles. I got the vanilla, mistook the caramel for almonds but would never have guessed wood for the third. I really enjoyed this sort of training and its definitely something I wanna do a lot more of.
This was followed by a small latte art competition where the top three scorers of the day’s quizzes were called up. A very nice lady, whose name I regrettably forget, but who I remember owns a fantastic restaurant in Edinburgh called Urban Angel, was called up first. Deaton was second and then lastly myself. Troels was the appointed judge but would be out of the room while we were pouring so not to affect his decision. This was kinda of funny for me as two years previous I had competed against Troels in the World Latte Art Competition in Athens, with him taking second and me placing third. We’d only met a few times since then so when I came 2nd, (deservedly I might add) to Deaton, I became the subject of his playful mocking. I did get a chance to settle with him later though when we headed back to Tinderbox for some food and drinks to finish off the successful day. We sorta stormed over to the bar and thanks to some very understanding baristas who were trying to clean up, we had a bit of a pour off challenge. I’m not afraid to admit that we’d both consumed a few beers at that time to the extent that I’m not quite sure who came out better, but it was good fun. I wish I’d gotten a chance to chat to more people then as a lot of them left after a few drinks.
So to quickly conclude yet another rambling post as its now late at night and also bitterly cold, I thought the day was a great success and I sincerely feel that anyone wishing to hold a barista jam in the near future, in and around these isles, will have big shoes to fill.