Thursday, August 17, 2006

smelly memories

i have heard tell many times that smells are one of the best keepers of memories. to wit, we have all smelled the fragrance of some stranger walking past us on the sidewalk that reminds us of a past love interest.

apply that to coffee and that happened to me this week. i was enjoying a cup of one of my new arrivals from costa rica and i got the overwhelming memory of one of my past girlfriends from college. just kidding.

seriously, though, tasting that costa rica from the tres rios region really gave me a smell memory of one of my first specialty coffee experiences with costa rica, that also came out of tres rios. this time it was from the finca aguas claras. back then it was the amazingly bright and tangy coffee from ferdinand willig's bella vista estate. both times i remember thinking that this is one unbelievably "clean" coffee.

and did i say tangy? i once did a coffee seminar for starbucks coffee masters where one of the workshops was tasting for acidity. acidity shows up best for me as the dance and tingle on the front tip of my tongue. when i hold a coffee like the costa ricas in my mouth for a bit before chewing it around and washing it over my gums, i get that super tang like tiny little rubber bands being snapped on the tip of my tongue. the workshop called for us to pair the costa rican coffee with, get this, a cup of odwalla orange juice (even now my mouth began to well up and water under my tongue as i began to think of the pairing!). now, one wouldn't generally expect to pair coffee with orange juice any more than they would pair toothpaste with orange juice. it's just not supposed to work...but it does. and why? because the acidity in the coffee is every bit as palpable a taste as it is in the o.j.

that acidity workshop opened new avenues of cupping for me as i began to taste coffees as much for characteristics as i had been for specific flavors. i began to taste for acidity, taste for salty, taste for fruity (some would say "for defect").

anyways, all that was brought back in a flash as i sat the other morning with my aeropressed costa rica. just thought i'd share.

do you have an a-ha coffee tasting moment?


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