Video 7 – News, thank yous and labels

I suspect I am going to start struggling for post titles soon!

Sorry about the macbook filming again today – no more from now on (honest!).

Relevant links:

Josh’s Video

The Coffee Boys

The tasting will be this Friday (The 17th, not the 16th) from 4pm to 6pm.  I only need 10 minutes of your time to quickly pop in and taste 5 coffees that we will be brewing over and over.  No need to RSVP or anything, but a note in the comments would be nice.

On a side note – I know this post wasn’t published when it was supposed to be, but the video was uploaded on time so I count that as a win and not a fail.  So there!

16 Comments Video 7 – News, thank yous and labels

  1. Mark

    Tell us more about those fines shakers! I think I need to get some. I’ve been using some bartending sieves (which are cone shaped, with handle, nice weave), but the yellow thingie you held up looks pretty interesting!

  2. Paul D

    Did you describe the bag of coffee as “smelling like purple”?

    If so, what does that mean? If not, what did you say?

    Paul D

  3. Tim Varney


    It’s hard to see, but it is a classic Kenyan. Black currant = purple.

    I think Willy Wonka was onto something, perhaps someone could develop this for a our labels?

  4. James Hoffmann

    I suppose I meant that it smells like lots of sweet purple things do. Mostly sweets like Starbursts or other kinds of purple candies. It was the first word that popped into my head and I was very relieved to turn the bag over and find a purple label on it! (It was under some Aricha Espresso, which probably added to the experience!)

  5. navier stokes

    Great idea – it’s kind of a different take on a blind tasting!! I may pop over with a mate if I’m not busy…. you do mean Friday 17th right, not 16th?

  6. Poul Mark

    Cool experiment James, we might give it a go here next week. Having said that, I just hosted a Coffee 101 class last week, and did a tasting of five coffees with complete newbies in terms of tasting. They had a very difficult time putting any descriptor to the coffees tasted, other than it tastes like “coffee”. I really do think that the problem lies somewhere in the middle. On one level, our descriptors are probably a bit fanciful at times, I remember a head judge at an event describing a coffee as clotted cream and strawberries on a fresh scone. This type of language, I think, is not useful in the slightest. The other side is that according to the experts, we all are exceedingly capable of perceiving aroma, but woefully adequate at recognizing those aromas. And the recognition only comes with practice and repetition. Its the wine guy drinking 1000 cabs to get the profile down, or you and Anette tasting 100’s of El Salvador coffees to get the profile into recognizable descriptors. So at the end of the day, the experiment has to be crafted in terms of its purpose. Are we trying to communicate to an untrained palate, in a way that is accessible? Or are we concerned about our accuracy in describing the coffee we sell. The results I think, will be wildly different depending on which type of person does the experiment.

  7. Jules

    The Breville scales look very interesting. Do let us know what they’re like once you’ve had a good play.

  8. Francis Percival

    We will definitely be there to taste on Friday afternoon. We will try and bring along some other people who are experienced tasters of things other than coffee so (hopefully) you get a middle ground between the complete novice and an industry-trained palate…

  9. SlowRain

    I think most people who are new to the world of specialty coffee find the labels almost useless. I know I did. The current way of labeling is not geared towards informing newcomers. I found a good coffee shop and pestered them until I understood how they labeled their coffees. I didn’t taste chocolate or nuttiness, but I know that I liked what was labeled as such, and I avoided anything labeled as ‘citrusy’, ‘acidy’, or ‘bright’. Basically, I had to find a work-around that was useful for me to understand this method of labeling. I think a more practical system describing the relative sweetness, acidity, sourness, etc. would be more useful for beginners–it’s just not sexy.

  10. triptogenetica

    Hope the tasting went well!

    Just a quick note – rather than asking people to match, e.g. coffee 1 to label 3, it would be more usual to number the coffees and letter the labels. (Or the other way around, it doesn’t matter). Assuming the labels are truly randomly numbered, there’d be a strong impulse NOT to put coffee 1 with label 1, coffee 2 with label 2 etc – even if this is the truth!

  11. Gunnar Aurdal

    I’ve visited Tim Wendelboe’s place in Oslo, and he really makes fantastic coffee. I espescially remember a cup of coffee that smelled and tasted of lovely black currant. That’s my best cup of coffee ever! I’m glad to see that you like it too. :)

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