i've been spending a fair amount of time roasting and cupping coffees since i'm not working as a barista at present.
it's been incredibly informative and interesting - and i think i'm learning a lot (about roasting, of course, but about coffee in general as well). it should make me a better barista long term.
today i cupped four coffees - three origin coffees and one blend.
Test Blend - this used Uganda Organic Bugisu and a dry-processed Grade 1 Sumatra Mandheling as the base with a Guatemala Antigua and an Ethiopian Harrar as accent notes. post-rost blended, with the Bugisu and the Harrar both taken to Full City, the Antigua taken to City Plus and the Sumatra at Full City Plus. a really nice "house" style blend. balanced, juicy, with a nice bittersweet chocolate foundation and good fruit notes. not complex or challenging, but a good "everyday" coffee.
Guatemala Antigua - a single estate Antigua, roasted to City Plus. i extended the roast from first to second crack and stopped it right at the start of second crack. it turned out to be a very consistent roast. in the cup it has excellent aromatics (jasmine and bergamot) and a wonderful, balanced flavour profile. even though it was a somewhat light roast, it had good body, with some soft milk-chocolate tones and a plum/dried cherry note. a really lovely, satisfying coffee.
Sumatra Mandheling - a grade 1, dry-processed Sumatra from a single lot. i extended the roast on this one as well and took it truly to Full City Plus. this was a huge bodied coffee - perhaps the biggest bodied coffee i've ever tasted. not too funky, with none of the musty notes that some Indonesian coffees can get. a bit "flat" on the high end, but with some nice low-acid dried fruit tones and that thick, rich, nutty and syrup-like body dominating everything. the roast notes came through as toasty rather than carbon, which was really good.
Ethiopia Longberry Harrar - my personal favorite of the coffees. incredible aromatics - very earthy/spicy - reminiscent in an odd way of cologne (musk and earth and spice). i took this to Full City, but didn't extend the roast. this resulted in a wide range of roast (typical of Harrar). the idea was to really emphasize the "wild" flavours of a dry processed Harrar. it succeeded. when hot, the cup was dominated by a dark, leathery spice and tobacco flavour with just enough wine-berry fruit to balance it. as it cooled, the fruit became more dominant and a dark chocolate tone began to emerge. a wonderful, complex and challenging coffee.