Monday, 14 March 2016

Something a Bit Special #7 My First Experience of Coffee Cupping with The Scandinavian Coffee Pod

I’m writing this as I sit wide awake at gone 10pm…and that’s because I’ve spent the evening tasting coffee – also known as coffee cupping!

The Scandinavian Coffee Pod is a cool Cheltenham coffee bar and they’ve just started roasting their own beans, hence the reason for this event.

I’ll be completely truthful, I don’t really do tea or coffee, I’ve never really got it. Whilst everyone else is drinking cups and cups of the stuff every single day, I probably average out at one cup a month, if that; but, I am always keen to learn about and try new things, so I didn’t want to miss out on this cupping.

Our hosts for the evening were Jamie (coffee expert and also my next door neighbour), Phil (coffee expert and social media guru) and Chris (coffee expert and chief roaster), and what a great job they did as they talked us through the coffee beans, their origin, the processes, the roasting, how to ‘cup’, and the aromas and flavours from the different beans.

So, we had five different coffee beans to taste test, and we started by grinding them and smelling each of them. Now you’d usually expect to hear words such as woody, fruity and leathery associated with this, but we came up with baked beansy – yep, we all agreed that one of the cups definitely had a scent of baked beans about it.

Then you start the slurping part of the cupping and taste the coffee from spoons. Again, various words were banded about including smoky, maple, citrus, nutty and then…roast beef! We were a unique lot, that’s for sure!

After blind tasting, Chris talked us through the various beans, each of them ethically sourced. My personal favourite was from a farm called Cerro de Jesus in Nicaragua where they have built a school for all the children living in the local community. We then went on to eat cake and chocolate, drink prosecco and grill our hosts with more coffee related questions. 

The Scandinavian Coffee Pod is all about speciality coffees which change with the seasons, so they are constantly sourcing new beans and selecting the best ones for their customers. Their passion for really good coffee shone through and it has certainly made me into a coffee snob (or should I say discerning coffee drinker); my once a month cup has to be the best from now on, no more shoddy coffee!

In fact, I’m going to make it my mission to get the restaurants of Cheltenham (and further afield) thinking more about the coffee they serve. Diners deserve better coffee when they’ve just eaten a mighty fine meal.

It’s funny because although I don’t ‘do’ coffee, after attending this cupping, I’m feeling rather enthused and passionate about the coffee and the business ethics of The Scandinavian Coffee Pod. Mission accomplished I’d say, well done Jamie, Chris and Phil!

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