Today on the cupping table we had what can best be described as an aged Ethiopian Harrar. As you might know, one of the pieces of the Reindeer Blend puzzle is an aged Sumatra. This coffee helps bring out the spiciness of the blend and deepen the body.
While i had some expectation of what we might find when i heard the term bandied about, it was nothing like i expected. There are coffees best suited to aging, and even then it requires strict monitoring to be sure the process doesn't ruin the beans.
Ruined is the friendliest way i could describe this aged Harrar. Something tells me either an importer sent the sample by mistake or has a pretty twisted sense of humor. The first slurp triggered a physical reaction that made me want to spit it our immediately and left me gasping. Dirty, burning burlap might be the words i'd use to describe it. Nothing like the juicy blueberry, high juniper or jasmine notes, and big bodied sweetness you normally find.
There are good days and bad days in the cupping lab, and while we'd love wine and roses all the time, there are the days that remind us why we must cup every sample, every time. Quality, specialty coffee doesn't happen by accident, and it's our job to be the custodians so you can reap the benefit in your cup.