HomeRoast Digest

Topic: as I lay choking (with apologies to Faulkner) (8 msgs / 160 lines)
1) From: Helen
Thanks to all who blog here; I’ve learned so very much about coffee=
 roasting and about different coffees.  I’d like to report I=
ve had some success trying to teach my palate to notice the difference b=
etween good, fresh roasted coffee and coffee that is stale.  I think I=
ve been used to stale coffee and just didn’t’ know th=
e difference.  It’s been my observation that stale coffee tastes fl=
at, like a soda that’s been open for a while.  All the other flavor=
s:  caramel, chocolate, fruit, etc are muted to the point of being dull.  T=
he brew –even if it’s a strong brew—seems thin and =
watery and one-dimensional.
I’d like to share my experience with the next step in my coffee edu=
cation:  I decided to try cupping.  I’ve read Tom’s cupping=
 reviews and I aspire to have my taste buds trained like his.  I followed K=
en Davids’ directions on how to cup, but something went awry.  Let =
me explain.
Yesterday I was off (a rare treat) so I set up the experiment* and prepared=
 two cupping stations.  I measured the different coffees, ground them just =
as the water was coming to a boil and set up the kitchen table like I=
ve seen in the pictures.  I had a paper cup as a spittoon and kept a kit=
chen towel nearby (ostensibly to wipe up any messes).
To recap briefly:  Tom’s website (and Davids’ book) suggest=
s pouring boiling water over the measured grounds in the cup.  The majority=
 of the grounds will not sink but rather stay on top of the water, forming =
a crust.  Proper cupping etiquette dictates one should break the crust with=
 a spoon and inhale the perfume rising from the brew.  
Next, one should take a spoonful of the liquor and slurp it quickly (and wi=
th force) into the mouth, so as to coat the mouth and tongue with the liqui=
d.  Doing this will expose your taste buds to all the nuances in the coffee=
.  That’s where I went wrong.
I never learned how to slurp.  I was raised in the south; it was considered=
 gauche.  Slurping was akin to gossiping about the town floozy:  you knew w=
hat she did but you never saw her do it.  We were so trained not to slurp t=
hat my sisters and I, enjoying iced tea out on the porch, wouldn’t =
do it even though we knew our parents were inside watching Hee Haw.
I choked and sputtered and coughed (it’s a good thing the kitchen t=
owel was close by) and then got so tickled with myself that I started to la=
ugh and that ran the coffee up my nose.  Instead of continuing with the stu=
dy, I strained the grounds, poured the coffee into a mug and sat down to po=
nder this flaw in the scientific design.  Maybe next weekend…
*I once planned a similar experiment, designed to quality control a variety=
 of different vodkas (the goal was to determine which vodka was superior) b=
ut I, um, can’t remember what the outcome of that was…

2) From: Andy Thomas
Great story, Helen. My one and only experiment with cupping was similar. Al=
though I wasn't shy about slurping -- no one else was there -- I couldnt do=
 it without inhaling and immediately spraying and coughing the stuff all ov=
er the kitchen. Decided to leave cupping to the pros.
    ----- Origin=
al Message ----
    From: Helen 
    To: SM=
    Sent: Sunday, February 4, 200=
7 4:22:27 PM
    Subject: +as I lay choking (with apologies to Faulkner)==
Do you Yahoo!?
Everyone is raving about the all-=
new Yahoo! Mail beta.http://new.mail.yahoo.com

3) From: Floyd Lozano
This is where I thank my parents for my low class common man upbringing!
On 2/4/07, Andy Thomas  wrote:

4) From: Silvia Marsh
Hysterical, and right on target...slurpin'll get you looked at real funny
down here. ;)
I haven't yet tried a cupping experiment, but I think I will at some
point...and I can see it going just like that. :)
On 2/4/07, Floyd Lozano  wrote:

5) From: Larry Johnson
Hilarious! :-D   I was raised in the south, so I know whereof ye speak.
As for the vodka experiment, maybe you need a little help next time....
Larry J (Lilboybrew)
"I hear, and I forget.  I see, and I remember.  I do, and I
understand."    -- Confucius
On 2/4/07, Helen  wrote:
I never learned how to slurp.  I was raised in the south; it was considered
, I

6) From: Robert Joslin
     I assumed my cupping experiences were failures because of an
incompetent epiglottis. I've never mastered that slurping thing.  On my las=
effort I aspirated what felt like a full cup of hot pea gravel, sprayed the
dogs, the walls, and both roasters with liquid coffee, wet grounds, and
spittle;  endured a 5 mintue coughing fit with near syncopal results, and
broke two perfectly good coffee cups in the ensuing mayhem.  Like you, I
have decided to leave the cupping to more experienced
persons.                                 Josh
On 2/4/07, Helen  wrote:
d I
, I

7) From: raymanowen
Hi Helen,
I thought I would also try to have the coffee cupper's experience as you
outlined. But every muscle and bone in my body prevented me from the final
expectoration. I'm glad of that.
I altered what I was doing to reflect the Coffee Drinker's experience, and
to maximize the experience for the far larger population. Besides, with SM
as the source of my green coffee, my cupping experience would be arbitrarily
skewed. How can one pretend to compare fantastic flavors and superlative
The cupper is looking for faults, while I am looking for flavor treasures
and how to tune them up in the roast and brewing in the future. Egad- it
Cheers -RayO, aka Opa!
"When the theme hits the bass, I dance the Jig!" - -Virgil Fox at the Mighty
Wichita (ex- NYC Paramount) WurliTzer- 1976

8) From: Michael Dhabolt
On 2/6/07, Robert Joslin wrote:
Unfortunately, I can feel your pain.  As recently as while reading your post
(managed to not spray the keyboard during the mayhem).
Mike (just plain)

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