Novo Coffee sources and roasts some of our favorite coffee beans in town. Herb, Jake and Joe Brodsky (who went on to find Ninety Plus Coffee, a sourcing and distribution company), the father and sons behind the operation, spend a lot of time forging relationships, searching for beans and perfecting the processing -- and they're also passionate about getting the best cup of coffee possible into the hands of consumers.
Earlier today, Jake walked us through the cupping process, which is used to detect flaws in coffee and check for consistency.
For us, though, it had a taste education element, too. "Cupping shows people how much diversity really exists in coffee," said Jake. "It shows them that bean and roast makes a difference." And that's why Novo is going to offer cupping classes to the public starting later this month. Here's a taste, in photos, of that class:
Novo set the table with four different types of coffee for us to try. When checking for consistency, Jake said that they'll typically set up at least six cups of the same coffee.
About two ounces of coffee were ground into each cup. We began the cupping process by smelling the grounds and discussing the aromatic nuances.
Then Jake added water, heated to just before the boiling point, to each cup.
A crust formed on top of the coffee, encapsulating the aromas. We let that sit for about four minutes.
We smelled the coffee as we broke the crust, inhaling the burst of aroma that was released, which was more intense than the grounds.
The crust was skimmed off in preparation for tasting.
We slurped coffee from spoons, sucking in air to enhance the complexity of the drink and coating our tongues with the liquid. Since we sampled coffees that ranged from light to full, this gave us a spectrum of diversity in flavor.
The biggest revelation? Also an espresso-lover, I've been a dark roast girl for as long as I can remember. But after tasting five coffees side by side, I realized that while I like the smoky taste of a dark roast (which makes me a total amateur in the coffee world), I'll pick up the Ethiopia, the lightest roast we tried, the next time I'm at the store. It was delicate and nuanced, with a rich blueberry note infusing the whole cup and a body that more closely resembled tea than the thick stuff I normally brew.
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It would have been great with a scone or a slice of lemon tart.
Novo will start offering cupping classes to the public at the roasting facility, 3008 Larimer Street, at noon on Fridays later this month. Reservations are required and can be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.