Another day another cupping down in London. I was at our friends Mercanta, cupping the cup of excellence lots for Nicaragua and Honduras, Great table and some sure fire Has Bean lots there. Great quality (as you would expect), but really unusual cups. We haven’t stocked Honduras for a long time due to a mixture of serious concerns about quality and our import partners and the UK in general not being a big fan of Honduras coffee. But the quality is there and there was serious interest in these lots here (and more interest than ever from me).For Nicaragua COE, we are a BIG supporter of. I look at Nicaragua with a huge emotional attachment, as it’s the first origin visit last year, and what a wonderful time it was. I view Nicaragua as my first step in to learning my trade, and is a beautiful country with fantastic coffee and wonderful people. Different to other cup of excellence countries this coffee tends (and this is a mass generalisation) to be best in the filter/ french press. The table today proved me wrong, and I found some good coffees that would be great in espresso. But as expect I also found some great filter drinks and expect to see us to participate for sure.
But my world as a coffee fanatic and a coffee buyer clashed today. On my way to the cupping I’m sitting on a train with my laptop thinking what do I do. Spare time is not something I have often, but time on a train gives me this nice problem and I have to think what to do, so I started to watch a DVD a importer has leant me. The DVD is by the world barista champion 2003 (I think) Paul Basset. I met Paul in Bern Switzerland a few weeks ago and my thought was I didn’t really like him. He made an off the cuff remark at me that I just didn’t like and got my back up a little (most unlike me but it did). But I watched his DVD as I’m 1st a coffee enthusiast, 2nd I’m a coffee professional. I’ve quite enjoyed it, and he makes some good points (there are some moments where I don’t agree but that’s fine). But anyhow back on track I walk in the cupping room and who is there, but Mr Basset. So trying hard to fight the coffee enthusiast saying I’m a fan to the coffee professional who was slightly offended by an off the cuff remark at Bern. So I cup with him listen, take in, go for a Beer afterwards and find he’s a good guy passionate about his coffee, keen on his football and a guy I have lots in common. So what’s learned? First impressions are not always with good foundation, and don’t judge a book by his DVD
Had a great chat with James Hoffmann and Anette, about coffee stuff, and I leave the chat with them thinking they are complete geeks about coffee and James is scientist that makes me look like an amateur. Two true professionals that inspire any one around them to do the best they can with coffee. James also tried to tell me he cant cup, yes right!!