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Tuesday afternoon I had the best event planned for me, I got the opportunity to go to my local Starbucks and have a real, genuine coffee tasting. What is a coffee tasting? you might ask. Well it is actually very similar to a wine tasting where one gets to try a variety of different coffees and try to guess the various flavor properties.
Our coffee tasting started out with two tiny, black shot glasses and two very large glasses of water. My excitement instantly began to build, two tiny shot glasses for coffee? How awesome! I thought. In the coffee tasting, the barista liked to use a coffee press. If you haven’t seen one of these or don’t know what it is. Basically it is a device that allows your coffee to steep directly in hot water, after however so many minutes you push down on a plunger that is inside the coffee press which presses (ha ha get it) all of the coffee grounds to the bottom of the device leaving nothing but pure coffee goodness leftover. It is a very neat little gizmo, if you are slightly interested in the coffee process like I am.
So with two coffee presses, two black shot glasses, and two tall glasses of water our coffee tasting began. First up, Organic Shade grown in Mexico and Red coffee for partnership on the Red campaign blends.
There are 4 key elements in a coffees profile…
With these 4 elements in mind, we began our coffee tasting. Like with wine, coffee tasting is done in a specific way.
I was able to try out 4 blends of coffee yesterday and here is my assessment…
Organic Shade Grown Mexico blend:
a light coffee, medium roast
has subtle nutty flavor to it
my second favorite coffee blend of the group
RED blend for partnership with RED campaign:
Asian & East African coffee blend
my least favorite of the group
This is my favorite blend of coffee out of all of the one’s that we tasted
Very bold. But not crazy on acidity.
Absolute “money” with toffee pecan bars.
great paired with grapefruit or some sort of sour acidic fruit. Dessert example: lemon pound cake.
Alone I didn’t like it but paired with the lemon pound cake it was very good.
What did I learn? When you pair coffee with the perfect complimenting food the coffee really shines. Alone coffee is hard to distinguish but when you pair something like the Sumatra blend and the toffee pecan bars you end up with “pure money” and your mouth does a little happy dance.
As I mentioned from last week’s visit: My favorite, #1 tip for Starbucks lovers is Learning to make your favorite drinks at home. With that being said, I have some juicy “nuggets” of information to share with all you aspiring “at-home baristas”….
Tips: Brew the Perfect Cup of Coffee at Home
1. Buy Whole Beans not ground coffee.
2. Invest in a Grinder.
Ashli and I were talking about this one, you can get a grinder at places like Walmart for $10-$20. Many people think that grinders are expensive but this simply is not true.
3. Store beans in an air tight container in a dark place, like a cupboard, at room temperature for best flavor for your beans.
What sparked our conversation was whether or not you should keep your beans in the fridge or freezer. Ashli the “coffee expert” says for best taste keep them in a dark place at room temperature, air-tight containers are key.
4. Grind as you go.
With whole beans and a grinder you know that you are getting the freshest possible coffee at home. So grind what you need when you need it.
Making your coffee at home is a great way to save money & it is something that I do in my own home every, single morning.
In closing, I would like to give Starbucks a very special thank you for allowing me the opportunity to experience a coffee tasting for the very first time. I learned a lot, and reignited my love for coffee once again.
I would also like to encourage you, readers, to chat with your local barista next time you are in Starbucks, find out what treats would be a great pairing with your signature drink, or just ask something you always wanted to know about.
Special Note for Ashli “the coffee expert”
I love Ashli, the “coffee expert”, not just because she has taught me so much about coffee but also because she absolutely loves what she does. When you speak to her you can see the love pouring through her eyes. I love meeting people that have so much passion for what they do. What blogging is to me, coffee is to Ashli and that to me is phenomenal! Ashli, if you are reading this…please know that I think you are one awesome chick and I thank you for giving me the chance to pick your brain just a bit.
Disclosure: this post is sponsored by Starbucks