Cupping Notes: Sweetness, Fruity, Spicy, Chocolaty, and Nutty tones
How should a shot of espresso taste? Many prefer an over-roasted bean where the predominate flavor is “burntness” with a body that is rather thin. It’s a favorite in Latino culture, and I have enjoy many myself. Italian espresso seems to have the qualities of a medium to dark roast with moderately substantial body and nice crema.
When I purchased my first espresso machine, I began experimenting with the coffees that we roast at Rio Coco Beans. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that our Nicaragua Light as well as our Ethiopia Yirgacheffe both produced an extremely tasty espresso shot- bright and naturally sweet, with all the qualities of these light roasted coffees greatly amplified. I also found the Honduran and Nicaraguan dark roasts produced deep thick body, with very complex nutty chocolate tones. Then I tried a Negro Fino shot, which produced a spicy chocolate flavor. I realized that the right combination of these coffees would produce a sweet, bright, citrus, chocolate, spicy cup of espresso.
Right before we opened our Vero Beach café in 2011, I spent a day experimenting with different combinations of these coffees. Finally I looked at my wife, Laura, after the 23rd attempt, and with what she later described as a crazed smile I said “Laura, I think I finally got it!” She later told me “I will never let you do that again.”
A few days later, I tried this combination of Ethiopian, Nicaraguan, and Honduran coffee in a French press. It was a lovely cup. All the qualities of these light, dark, and extra dark roasted coffees made a perfect blend.
Photo: Espresso and milk are the only ingredients of Cappuccino. The sweetness of the milk foam, along with the natural sweetness of the Ethiopian, Nicaraguan, and Honduran beans, make for an exquisite drink!