In reality we woke up a long time before smelling the coffee. In a household where everyone is up at 5am it’s difficult to justify lying in past 6.30am. But why give up the chance to use a ‘great’ title in pursuit of the truth?
Anyway, the story is our experience on the first day in El Sontule, Miraflor roasting coffee the old-fashioned way.
The homegrown coffee needed to be roasted for family consumption. Having a flask of coffee at the ready at all times for anyone that wants one is something of an institution here.
Roasting coffee is a fine art, and the process can add significant value to the end product. This old school method gave us an insight into the way it’s often done in the mountains where the coffee is actually grown. It’s bloody hard work.
All that remained then was to sample the flavour. Of course we were able to do that the very next day. We were also lucky enough to be invited to a demonstration in the community of coffee-tasting or ‘cupping’ put on for a group of visiting students.
‘Cupping’ is a complex process – like everything involved in coffee production. It is vital to observe many different aspects of the coffee – its aroma, taste, substance, etc – to determine the quality and hence the value. We had a go ourselves and narrowly avoided caffeine headrushes induced by the violent sucking action that is apparently required when tasting a spoonful. Although I failed to identify pretty much any of the elements of the different samples it was an educational experience, and opened up to us another important aspect of the world of coffee.