My friends and I met at Los Poblanos, a working organic farm in Albuquerque’s North Valley. It’s situated on 25 acres of historic land near the Rio Grande River. Going to the farm is like going to an oasis, a high desert oasis. In the summer, when it’s hot and dry, one can escape to the farm for a walk among the lavender fields and under the shady, majestic cottonwood trees, relax under the wonderful portal which is perfect for catching a breeze, and dine outside by the ceramic tiled pool. Today, however, with the cloudy skies, cold temps and snow flurries; it was a perfect wintery day for gathering inside the farm inn for a different kind of oasis offering- coffee cupping.
Our coffee guides were brothers Juan and David of Villa Myriam specialty coffee. They were born in Columbia and have made Albuquerque their roasting home. They are expert roast masters and are involved with the production from bean to brew. As they say, “they grew up (on the plantation) knowing great coffee.” Their family plantation is located in Columbia at about 5500 feet above sea level where the beans are grown for the most part in the shade. Citrus trees, bananas trees and flowers also grow on the plantation adding layers of flavor to the beans. The Arabica beans are dried and processed in Columbia, exported to the US, stored in California (as green beans), then shipped to Albuquerque for roasting.
Did you know that coffee beans have more than 800 flavor characteristics (compared to the 400 flavor characteristics of wine)? That’s amazing! Since this was my first cupping, I was eager to see how many different flavors I could detect. The cupping process includes grinding the roasted beans, smelling the grounds, infusing the grounds, smelling again, slurping and spitting. Surprisingly, the cupping experts can complete the entire process in about 4 minutes. We cupped a medium roast and a dark roast- molasses, nuts, citrus, chocolate, and smokiness- were the different flavors picked out by our group.
My friends and I agreed that spitting the coffee was not ladylike and it seemed kinda wasteful, so we drank the coffee. By the end of the cupping session we were wide-eyed and wired, ready to take on the rest of the day! We had so much fun learning about coffee that we’ve decided to make plans for a visit to Juan and David’s roasting facility. Hmmmm…..a visit to a Columbian coffee plantation would be fun, too!
Coffee storage tips:
- Roasted beans should be stored in a thick lined bag with a valve for releasing gas (not in a brown paper bag).
- Store coffee in an airtight container in a cool, dry place away from light. Do not store in freezer!
- Coffee is best stored in the bean form and ground right before brewing.
Date visited: December 13, 2013