Monday, November 25, 2013

Sharing Joy With My Friends At Starbucks

Starbucks is the gold standard of coffee.  I am a bit partial, as Meredith is in management at the company, but I recently attended a coffee tasting/pairing and learned lots about coffee.  I was treated to a presentation by two aspiring coffee Masters in a somewhat local Starbucks store.  Did you even know Starbucks has a training  to become a certified Coffee Master?  

Jonathan and Joe presented wonderful information about where specific beans are grown, what flavor notes come from each region and what food pairs well with each.  Both were so knowledgeable.

This fold out chart made it easy to see the different regions of coffee growing.

I have to admit the tasting was the most fun part.  Tasting coffee, I learned, is similar to tasting wine.  There is a protocol for tasting - all coffee is freshly ground and brewed in French press containers, shown above. (I have a French press at home and the coffee is extra delicious when prepared this way).  First, we take in the aroma by covering the small cup with our hand and breathing in.  The taste comes next, and it is not just any taste - A Slurp.  That's right a slurp, to distribute the heat of the coffee as well as the different flavors around the palette.   Next we identified the flavors and located where on the tongue the flavor notes occurred.  Tim, an already certified Coffee Master, was especially adept at identifying and describing citrus notes, peppery notes, chocolate notes, etc. and where they were most prominent in the palette.

These small cups were used for tasting.  I never thought I'd enjoy black coffee, but in the specified manner of tasting, it was wonderful.

We accompanied the different blends with other foods - Evolution Fresh Orange Juice paired with Ethiopia to complement the citrus notes.  By the way, I know I sound like a commercial for Starbucks, but it was delicious orange juice.  Guatemala Antigua from Latin America was my personal favorite.  Was it the lemon, the chocolate or the soft spice?  I don't know.  It tasted very good with apple fritter from the pastry case.  I'm not really a dessert person, but the pairing was lovely.  Finally, we tasted Komodo Dragon Blend - very earthy in flavor and paired with cinnamon roll to complement the herbal notes.

Jonathan prepared these coffee travel tags summarizing each coffee and as a lovely memento of the entire experience.
I can't begin my morning without a cup of coffee.  It helps me wake up.  I have a new appreciation and a new way of tasting my coffee.  Jonathan opened the presentation by saying he loved coffee - it's what brings us together.  And yes, it brought us together that afternoon and I am grateful for the experience.  It was DIVINE!

1 comment:

  1. What a great learning experience! Thank you Meredith and Val!