FREE COFFEE CUPPING
When: 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 2
Where: PT’s Barrington Village, 5660 S.W. 29th
Cost: The cupping is free and open to the public
More info: Cuppings and home brewing workshops are held every two weeks. Call 273-4920 for more information.
COFFEES TO BE CUPPED TUESDAY
1. Ethiopia Sidama — Ardi
2. Panama Elida Estate
3. El Salvador La Avila Honey
4. Panama Hartman Estate
With one of the country’s top roasting companies and an array of local coffee shops, it is no surprise that coffee has its own culture in Topeka.
At the heart of this culture you will find a small group of coffee enthusiasts crowded around a table at PT’s Barrington Village, 5660 S.W. 29th, taking part in a coffee tasting — known to devotees as a cupping.
While sniffing and slurping some of the world’s best coffees, these coffee junkies are getting a master class on understanding the nuances wafting from their cups and resonating on their palates.
With gentle prodding from their instructor, 22-year-old PT’s barista Morgan Smith, the coffee students slowly begin to put into words what they are tasting and smelling in each cup.
And before you start thinking that Smith may be a novice, understand that earlier this year she placed third in the 2009/2010 Midwest Regional Barista Competition in St. Louis and competed in the U.S. Barista Competition in California. And if that isn’t enough, she also traveled to El Salvador to learn firsthand about the coffee growers who produce beans that PT’s roasts every day.
“I’m definitely lucky to have learned from people here at PT’s with really developed palates,” Smith saud, “and I love talking to customers about coffee.”
According to Smith, coffee cupping is a bit more relaxed in a coffee shop environment than it is on the farms in the coffee regions where the beans are produced.
“At origin, cupping is a ritual, a tradition,” she said last week at the cafe. “It is actually quite sacred.”
Back at the cupping table at PT’s, the coffee students move past such basic descriptions as “rich,” “dark” and “sweet,” and start to articulate more complex themes: “This one has a hint of lemon and blackberry.” “Ooooh, this coffee has an amazing chocolate aroma.” “I like the spice-like aftertaste of this one.”
With the success PT’s Coffee Roasting Co. has had — in 2009, it was named Roaster of the Year by Roast Magazine — these free public cuppings offer customers a chance to learn about direct trade coffee and single origins from a specific country or farm.
“At PT’s, we know we have great coffee, and it’s fun to share the experience of tasting different coffees with our customers,” she said. “Coffee really is a sharing of ideas.”
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