Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend a Grand Cru Coffee Cupping at Stumptown Coffee here in Seattle. Stumptown already does daily coffee cuppings at 3 PM. On Mondays, they bring out the special coffee and they call this the Grand Cru Coffee Cupping. This is a free event.
This is how Stumptown defines Grand Cru Coffee.
French for great growth. Grand Cru is Stumptown’s way of distinguishing truly exquisite coffees from the already outstanding ones we buy.
Here were the coffees that were cupped yesterday.
- Colombian El Jordan
- Rwanda Muyongwe
- Kenya Kagumoini
- Guatemala Finca El Injerto Pacamara
- Panama Esmeralda Especial Batch #1
- Panama Esmeralda Especial Batch #2
The Guatemala and Panama coffees were the selected Grand Cru coffees for the cupping. The Panama Esmeralda is perhaps the most desired coffee in the world today. A half pound of Batch #1 runs $85. Batch #2 is $95. The Guatemala is also outstanding and is a Cup of Excellence winner.
A Stumptown employee guides you through the coffee cupping process. Here is an overview. For more details on Coffee Cupping, follow the 2 links at the bottom of this post.
- Dry Fragrance – Smell the freshly ground coffee before water is added.
- Wet Fragrance – Smell the coffee after the hot water has been added and 4 minutes of brewing time elapsed.
- Breaking The Crust – Using a cupping spoon, move the coffee grounds away and smell the coffee again.
- First Tasting – Using the cupping spoon, slurp the coffee into your mouth in a spraying manner. The goal is hit different parts of the mouth to taste all aspects of the coffee. At this point spit the coffee into a paper cup and move to the next bean. **
- Additional Tastings – As the coffee cools, the flavor profile will change, so additional tastings are recommended.
** Author note: I love coffee too much to spit into a cup after slurping. Yeah I know I’m wrong and I’m probably not getting the full benefit of coffee cupping, but this stuff is liquid gold to me. 🙂
The Grand Cru Coffee booklet by Stumptown Coffee Roasters
I really am fortunate to live in Seattle. Most people will never get the opportunity to try these amazing coffees. To be able to try them walking distance from my house is a great thing. If you are in Seattle on a Monday at 3 PM, head to the 12th Ave location and walk downstairs. Some of the best coffees in the world are waiting for you.
Stumptown Coffee Roasters – Official website.
Coffee Cupping: A Basic Introduction – Article by Steve Leighton.
Panama Esmeralda – Website for Hacienda La Esmeralda.
Cup of Excellence – Official website.