In order to understand coffee better, I would like to learn how to taste it properly. When I worked for Starbucks a few years ago, I learned some about “cupping” (tasting, in coffee lingo), but I never was able to become an expert at the art. Looking for ideas to improve my coffee skills, I looked around for ways to learn about coffee tasting. In the September issue of MIX magazine, a monthly publication that covers Portland’s food and drink scene, I ran across an article on how to brew great coffee at home. The article surveyed some of the best baristas in town to find out their secrets for making a cup of coffee that people rave about.
One of the sidebars in the article gave some suggestions on where to go to learn the secrets of the pros. One of the tips was that Stumptown gives free cuppings every day at 12pm and at 2pm at the Annex, a tasting room located right next door to the Stumptown Café on Belmont Street in Southeast.
I walked there with my family today to check it out. We missed the free cupping, but since we had come all that way, we didn’t want to leave without trying the coffee. The barista gave us a description of most of the roughly twenty different coffees that you could choose from. We each selected a different one. I chose one called Ethiopia Mordecofe, a savory coffee with notes of ripe tomatoes, and my wife ordered one from Guatemala that was supposed to remind her of Dutch chocolate. The barista carefully weighed the beans (20g), ground them and made the coffee using the pour-over filter method. I thought the coffee was good, though I did struggle to distinguish the tomato flavor.
In the short time we were there, we learned quite a bit about coffee. Since I want to get educated in the nuances of coffee tasting, I plan to go back—multiple times, probably—until I become well-versed . In fact, on Monday, September 27th, I will be going back for the free 12pm cupping. If anyone would like to join me, please do! We can improve our coffee knowledge and figure out why PDX has some of the best (if not the best) coffee in the country.
Location: Stumptown Annex
Address: 3352 SE Belmont Street, Portland, OR 97214 (map)
Event: Free Cupping