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: One morning I was walking along the river when I saw these four students of ours emptying a dugout canoe of water that had filled the boat during heavy rainfall. They were having so much fun.