our coffee tasting, Feb 21,2010


Brother Jim showed up shortly after 7am to help set up a second coffee maker in case it was needed. I had also purchased a cheap burr grinder which I had him check out. It failed simple tests and we went with the old blade grinder used in the previous tasting.

His help was much appreciated. He even had to drive some distance to offer this help.

Our tools are pretty simple: the same stuff most people use to brew coffee. The translucent plastic bucket is used for all the grounds; it's always sent home with someone for their compost pile. Each session with the coffee maker, a 1 year old Cuisinart, takes about 9 minutes. We grind beans and fill a water jug while the coffee maker is working on the last batch. Two brew cycles are needed to fill a one of the silver coffee urns in the background.

The local coffee houses urged us to switch to French presses but we kept to our old equipment because that's what our fellow tasters use at home.

Each coffee pots ("urn") is labeled with a number used on the score sheets. Only the host knows which coffees are in which urns. At the very end of the party (oops, I mean 'event'), the coffee names are read aloud to a rapt audience.

At the 'starting gun' people headed to the line of urns, scoresheets in hand. Most tried to taste in the numeric order of the coffee urns. Two tasters, Peter and Donald, tried tasting in this order, then the opposite order, looking for effects of ordering. People were really trying hard to produce good results.

Check out the expressions. People were really working at this.

A Starbucks outlet at a Safeway offered a bunch of little cups if I'd buy 2 lbs of beans from them. Those cups proved to be very valuable. Here you can see Becky and Roberta working their score sheets.

While we generally had more table space this time for writing scores, you can see bro Jim in the background using the cabinets for a writing surface.

Sara avails herself of the water pitcher for palate maintenance. At the 1st tasting, nobody cleared palates. We're learning...

Lisa and two Jims working the urns.

Martha Stewart, disguised as Lisa, starts preparing glasses for Mimosas. It was a happy crew of tasters...

And here's proof that food started leaking out of the TV room into the tasting area. But these two are very conscientious tasters and ended up with good scores on the un-numbered coffee challenge. This makes me think we should encourage eating during the next tasting event.

Is that a guilty look on Donald's face? busted! :-)

See. Eyes wide open. Happy but not buzzed! That's an improvement over last time, too! Meanwhile, in the background, the Mimosa set is in high gear.

Jim Elder checks out the beans, and roast, of the Mexican 'shade-grown' coffee which was tasted. It came in second and impressed people considerably.

Karen, Lisa, and Ingrid share some laughs.

After most tasters had left, Peter and Donald continued to solve world problems. Actually this discussion was more about electronics.


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