Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Speaking of Coffee....

This weekend I had the pleasure of attending my first coffee"cupping".  Similar to a beer or wine tasting, we gathered at Larry's Beans in Raleigh to sample some tasty Ethiopian coffees. Thank goodness for GPS or I probably never would have found the place, tucked away down a gravel road, but once I spotted the Larry's Beans bus, I knew I was in the right place!

As we arrived, Larry himself greeted us at the entrance and we walked into a small courtyard to the sound of a guitar and accordian being played, setting the mood and making it feel almost like we were transported to a cafe in Paris! The sun was out and the temperature was an unbelievable 70 degrees and we proceeded to drink some coffee and sample some tasty treats.

Shortly after arriving,  all of us were seated and Larry gave a short intro about the business and inspired us with his life long passion and pursuit for sustainability and great tasting coffee. We learned a lot about Ethiopian coffee and the beans we would be sampling were from the Sidama Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union in Ethiopia.  Chief roaster Brad Brandhorst, educated us on the different processing techniques and how that affects the flavors of the coffee beans.

After some history and a little instruction on how the cupping would work, we moved to the tables where we learned to look, smell, taste and rate the coffee based on several different characteristics such as aroma, acidity, body, flavor, sweetness, balance and aftertaste.

Slurping is the proper way to take in the full taste and feel of the coffee, a talent none of us were quite ready to take on! But, that is how the professionals do it so we gave it our best shot!

I drink a cup of coffee just about every day, only having started a few years ago. I have to admit, I have a much better appreciation for the process and the complexity of flavors that can be found in a quality bean after the cupping experience. 

Cupping instructions and taking notes
I hope to attend more coffee cuppings in the future! My thanks goes out to John Huisman @trianglexplorer for the invite! It was a nice afternoon learning about coffee, meeting some great people, listening to good music and sampling some delicious local coffee and beer!

Coffee really seems to be having its moment these days, along with craft beer.  We are very lucky to have great connoisseurs of coffee (and beer) in Raleigh that go to such great lengths for sustainability, quality and complex flavor.

We finished the tasting with a cold glass of FullSteam's Carver Sweet Potato beer and yes, another cup of coffee!!

I am also a big fan of iced coffee and I look forward to trying Larry's concentrated cold brew coffee. Available online now at

Larry's "on air"

Live music

Getting ready to learn about coffee!

Tasting and making a mess! Smells amazing!

Brad teaches us about skimming the crust

Keep Dancing!


  1. Hey,
    I can't find your e-mail on here. E-mail me at so I can give you the 12/2 holiday information. It's 12/2 from 2 pm to 4 pm.

    I"m sorry I couldn't make this so we could meet.

  2. Also, I don't know if you know or not, but I have a luxury hotel giveaway with the Ballantyne Hotel in Charlotte that ends on 11/16.

    The link is on my home page.