espresso to die for

had a really fun cupping today (more on that later) but the highlight of the day was afterwards, when we pulled a couple shots of amazing single origin coffees. through some bits of freaky luck, we just happened to have about 1/4lb of the mighty El Salvador Las Nubitas sitting around at just the right age out of the roaster for espresso. for those who don't know, the Las Nubitas is an amazing Cup of Excellence coffee -- one of my favorites. and for the ultimate treat, we also found a 1/4lb of the incomparable Panama Esmerelda Especial (also, at peak age for espresso). again, for those who've been living under a rock, this was the coffee that won the Best of Panama competition and which sold for an all-time record for Latin coffees at auction ($21/lb green). it is one of the rarest and most spectacular of coffees.

so... an amazing treat indeed!

Las Nubitas... like roasted apples dipped in dark chocolate! wonderful french desert pastry tones of dark sweet fruit with a hint of sweet burnt sugar tangerine all on that wonderful rich apple-chocolate body. fabulous in the mouth, with a "fluffy" delicate mouthfeel. the sort of shot that makes you fall in love with coffee.

Esmerelda... what can i say? where do i begin? Muscat, Grand Marnier, candied tangerine fruit bomb, orchid perfume, tropical fruit brandy... intense, overwhelming, chaotic, insane... it tastes almost fake it's so huge and complex and concentrated in flavour. everything but the kitchen sink has been tossed in and rolled together to create a coffee that is sweetness and fruit amped up... and then taken past that to points heretofore unknown! i hate to admit it, but as much as i love this coffee in the cup - i think i might like it even more as an espresso. not something to drink everyday, but oh my god what an experience.

someone the other day asked me if i like working for Stumptown.
the above should answer the questions.
and if it doesn't...

we've been doing employee cuppings focussing on palate training. the idea is to start with the basics, cupping coffee for the foundation characteristics of coffee, and then building from that to eventually end up with nuances and cupping each coffee we sell.
every single employee of Stumptown is doing this. we cup in small groups four days a week.
employees are required to cup twice a month - and are paid for it.

i hear you say wow.
yup - committment to quality.

every employee cupping i've run has been great. today's had some truly wonderful moments that made me smile. i really love talking with people who work here about coffee. the passion, the knowledge and the palate... amazing. i feel so lucky to be surrounded by such talent. it's pushing me - and it's really really rewarding.

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