A Café. A Third Place. A comfortable, sociable gathering spot away from home and work, like an extension of the front porch.
When I think of the different coffee beans I have tried, and try to decide which ones I like the best, it reminds me of Classic Rock bands or films. Sometimes when you listen to The Beatles, you feel no one has ever hit it so right so many times. Then some evening, when you are feeling the blues, you put on some Dead, and life couldn’t be more perfect and music couldn’t be more cathartic. Some days, some bands. And the same applies to coffee too. When I am stuck in the maze of Sumatra vs Ethiopia, or Kenya vs Brazil, I remind myself, every coffee has its day.
Through the few times I have tried these magical beans, I have tried to sum up my experiences of the larger attributes of the coffee these regions offer. These are my interpretations from the times I have tasted these brews in coffee tasting sessions over the past few months, hence may not be an absolute guide to how a cup feels. You may have the same coffee beans on different days and in different places and it might not taste the exact same. There are many factors which vary the flavor and the cupping immensely. With that said, read on…
Kenya- Juicy and Complex
- Kenya coffee is fruity with delightful herbal notes, good acidity(medium-bodied juiciness), just the right amount of life left in them. Excellent for cold brews.
Ethiopia- Citrus and Dark Cocoa
- Medium Roast
- Tastes dark and burnt on the first sip
- Burnt mouthfeel all through
- Delightfully charred brew
- I was up for 6 hrs like a lamp the first time I had it.
Verona- Roasty Sweet and Dark Cocoa
- Dark Roast
- Roasty sweet and dark cocoa
- It is recommended with Cream and sugar
Starbucks India Estates Blend
- Medium Roast
- Chocolate and Herbal
- Shade grown coffee from estates in Karnataka
Espresso Dark Roast
- Caramelly sweetness, minimal to no acidity, and depth
Italian Roast- Roasty and Sweet
- Dark Roast
- Roasty and Sweet
- Feels burnt, you can feel it at the tip of your tongue
Sumatra- Earthy and Herbal
By the third sip, I was hooked- Howard Schultz(When he tasted his first Sumatra, in 1981)
- Arguably the best coffee in the world, Sumatra has everything, and more. A bright but not killing acidity, a full body, balanced flavor palette(Earthy herbal). Roast fruity aroma.
Pike Place Roast- Smooth and Balanced
- For the times when you want a strong, charred cup
- Medium roast
- Felt nicely dark, strong thick body, no acidity
Note: Lighter roasted coffee has more caffeine.
- Blonde roast: more acidity lighter body
- Medium roast: build body into coffee through the roast
- Dark roast: more and more body up to a point and no acidity
The original Starbucks store was a modest place. Behind a worn wooden counter stood bins containing coffees from all over the world: Sumatra, Kenya, Ethiopia, Costa Rica. Remember, this was a time when most people thought coffee came from a can, not a bean. The counterman scooped out some Sumatra coffee beans, ground them, put the grounds in a filter in the cone, and poured hot water over them. Although the task took only a few minutes, he approached the work almost reverently, like an artisan. When he handed me a porcelain mug filled with the freshly brewed coffee, the steam and aroma seemed to envelop my entire face. I took a small, tentative sip. Whoa. I threw my head back, and my eyes shot wide open. Even from a single sip, I could tell it was stronger than any coffee I had ever tasted. Seeing my reaction, the Starbucks people laughed. “Is it too much for you?” I grinned and shook my head. Then I took another sip. This time I could taste more of the full flavors as they slipped over my tongue. By the third sip, I was hooked.
Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman, president and CEO – from his book “Pour Your Heart Into It”