Monday, March 4, 2013

I believe you talked me into it (one more cup of coffee...)

On Saturday I bundled up my beloved and met up with a friend and we had coffee in the big smoke.
I tried not to look too much like the country bumpkin I now am, after all, Melbourne CBD was my stomping ground for many years, but there were a few times I had to close my gaping mouth, and not just at how aggressive city drivers are.
Now, we didn't just have any old cup of coffee.
We were all snooty like and went to a coffee tasting.
I might have mentioned (a few hundred times) that I'm about to stop dilletanting around with backstory and start writing my next book, Overly Caffeinated Werewolves (Are Not Pretty), and in aid of this I have begun serious research into The Coffee World. (O, the hardships! Does not your heart bleed for me?) Unfortunately, recent trials have proved that drinking too much coffee makes me ravenously hungry, so I've been trying to cut it down to one cup a day. However, in the interests of research, I sometimes make it two. Or three. Occasionally four.
Purely for the sake of research, you understand.
Anyway, researching places I could test really good coffee in Melbourne both Campos coffee and Seven Seeds Coffee came up on google, and I chose Seven Seeds on the basis of.. well, it was free,  while Campos charge $30.
Seven Seeds Cafe is tucked into an industrial-ish street near the Queen Vic Market and very easy to miss. We arrived early for a coffee (the kind with milk) and it was bustling and thriving and looked very cool with lots of exposed bricks. I am a sucker for exposed bricks.
The actual tasting was in a little glassed in room they use for training and was... brilliant. To be honest I thought they'd have us in and out in five minutes, but it went for nearly forty five minutes and Casey, the teacher, was wonderful. She was just back from a coffee buying mission to Burundi and full of knowledge, stories and passion.
The table was laid with 6 different coffees from various countries and we all had impressive clipboards and sheets to note our impressions. First off, we circled the table smelling the ground coffee. I completely failed to smell any of the notes of caramel, spice, woodsmoke or anything else I was supposed to. I did get a repeated smell of maybe... roast tomato? And one coffee totally smelt of tea-rose. After we'd all (very seriously) made our notes, hot water was added, and we smelt again. The smells were completely different.
And I am totally not a super-nose.
I did not smell any aromas of black-currant nor of roast beef. But never mind, my protagonist will be a super-nose. I will live vicariously. Fiction is good like that.
We waited awhile, while Casey told us about what they look for in beans (a clean, fresh, fruity or florally taste) and how a lot of ordering is done on big online coffee auctions and then we 'broke' the coffee (disrupted the crema on the surface) and tasted it again. And it was totally different. (More so to people with more refined palates than mine own) Some tastes had intensified, some had gone, some had come...
And then finally... when the time was right, we tasted.
And it all just tasted like coffee to me.
We were supposed to slurp it off the spoon and half the time I had a coughing fit, but it all seemed... very coffee like. Some were quite pleasant. All could have done with lots of froth.
I am not a sophisticate. But never mind, my character is, and I now know how she needs to 'cup' (taste) her coffee samples and what she's looking for and what she intends to avoid. (Potato tasting coffee is bad, very bad. Who would have thunk it!)
And now?
Well, I am a massive Seven Seeds fan. (No, this is not a sponsored post... giggle!) And my beloved and I intend to 'cup' all of the numerous coffees we have in the house to try to develop our noses. And I think, I think I need to go to more coffee tastings.
So much fun!

                                         My coffee at Seven Seeds. A lovely caramel aftertaste.

                                      The roaster at Seven Seeds
                                          Coffee Plants at Seven Seeds in a little glass room.
                                                The 'cupping' table
                                             Coffee Poster
                                            A fellow taster. Okay, the friend I dragged along (My beloved is anti-having his photo online) Also displaying the exposed brickwork.
                                             Unroasted coffee beans


  1. this sounds like so much fun! also, I have this kind of experience nearly every time I go wine tasting. People are all "oh, the notes of white peach, cinnamon, and wisteria" and I'm all "mmmm, wine...." :-)

  2. Oh love it...hehehe. Beautiful post.