A few weeks back when we were in London we popped into Monmouth’s to buy some coffee.  I thought we would try something different and the wonderfully helpful and enthusiastic sales woman suggested I taste two coffees from Brazil – Fazenda Camocim and Fazenda Rainha. As I  struggled to make a choice and explain the difference and my reasons, she breezily enthused “one tastes of Caramel and hazelnuts with medium body and acidity  and the other has a  clean sweetness and milk chocolate notes” the words just tripped off her tongue. I was lost… bumbling and apologetic I confided that as much as I would wish to talk in these terms I would feel a prat. I respected that she had the training and expertise and she knew what she was talking about. We choose the Fazenda Rainha.

 I had had it confirmed, I don’t know the language, it was official, I am coffee illiterate!

Obviously coffee cupping and tasting is something that requires training for the palette. I marvel at the taste wheel at Sweet Marias http://www.sweetmarias.com/   The London School of Coffee has courses http://www.londonschoolofcoffee.com/courses.php

I read the cupping notes of the coffees I buy and I know that my little Hearthware i-roast roaster roasts fast and maybe a bit harsh so I get a full roast (which we enjoy).

I despair though of possessing the skill and poetry to describe the enjoyment which I clearly experience when I drink my coffee. The kind of alchemy which talks in flowing words about a drink having “notes” …rather than this is nice….

So this morning we spent some time trying to discern the tastes as we drank our cup of Bolivia café David Santiago Marni Mamani… Steve at Hasbean had noted In the cup expect huge orange and orange peel all over the front end which makes you think this is going to be an over acidic coffee, but then it has a real smooth texture on the mouth feel, thick and gloopy. The flavour then turns into a ‘Werther’s Original’ butterscotch style of sweetness that is smooth and creamy”.  Which is interesting because we kept coming up with descriptions of “mouth feel” rather than particular comparisons…such as it seems to start with an acidic taste but then evens out… the more you drink it  the fuller the taste…it’s fuller with time once you commit to it. It snuggles up after the first hit… but we didn’t come up with caramel… or citric references though.

I despair… I’m flummoxed….I’m in country whose language I can’t speak and I realise I can’t speak the language of coffee either! Oh well I’ll just have to simply relax and enjoy….I wonder…..What is the colour of the wind?

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