A Rose By Any Other Name…

Posted by Karl Purdy on Oct 21, 2010

Truth be told, I have never tasted a gooseberry. Nor a tamarind, rambutan or a kumquat for that mattter. If I see these flavour descriptors on wine labels I can be fairly cetain that they imply an exotic fruit flavour, but beyond that I'm pretty lost. Sweet? Acidic? Floral? Haven't got a clue? But give me the more pedestrian back-of-bottle descriptors like \"freshly cut grass\", \"strawberries\" or even \"cat's pee\" and I would be pretty confident that I, like many others, would be able to spot them. However, describing and determining the flavour profile of a coffee is another game altogether... or is it? The 2009 World Barista Champion, Gwilym Davies, put it so beautifully and concisely when he said, \"Coffee is a fruit\". And I think that this reality, when presented to people (as surprising as it may be to some) is a damn good place to start. It has, and continues, to be discussed within industry circles that coffee labels / descriptors - like wine - can be confusing, intimidating and often times misleading. And I would tend to agree (and TBH, customers have told me as much). Tomorrow I board the 0720 train from Dublin to Kilkenny to attend Ireland's first ever Foodcamp - part of the Savour Kilkenny food festival. I am viewing the event as - apart from a rare day away from The Pale - a great opportunity to mix, mingle and learn from some of the Irish food industry's leading lights. I will be bringing along our newest coffee, Chelba - an Operation Cherry Red ((Operation Cherry Red is a program is funded by coffee trading company Trabocca, in cooperation with funding from the Dutch Government. Ethiopian farmers are encouraged to pick only the ripest, red coffee cherries, which produce an exceptionally cleaner, sweeter and more complete cup of coffee. Operation Cherry Red hires experts in agronomy to assist the farmers in practicing environmentally safer practices and cuppers to assist with implementing better equipment and procedures. Quite simply, these farmers are paid a higher price for higher quality coffee and the extra margin is reinvested to improve quality and increase volume.)) naturally processed, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe. And I am planing to brew this coffee (if I can find a kettle) during the lunch break ((I'll be using a Hario V60 & Baratza Maestro and attempting to brew to Gold Cup Standard. No milk or sugar will be provided.)) and then asking the assembled luminaries to taste, assess and basically share their thoughts. ((Obviously, I have my own ideas of it's flavour profile, but I am exceedingly curious to find out what the professional foodies think.)) I will then pull together all the comments, impressions and thoughts from this sampling and will publish these as this coffee's official tasting notes. I am hoping that this little exercise may challenge and hopefully open a few eyes... maybe even my own.