In my travels around Brisbane trying different coffees and cafes, I have come across Blackstar Coffee a couple of times. The first time was at their cafe on Thomas Street in West End, which is also where they used to roast the coffee. Now they are roasting from an almost unmarked location hidden away in East Brisbane.
Blackstar Coffee Roasters has been in and around Brisbane for over ten years now. They have a couple of locations that they operate. Also, you can find their coffee at numerous cafes throughout Brisbane that use their coffee.
I have had the opportunity to attend one coffee cupping in the past. So I was keen to get my RSVP in when Blackstar Coffee Roasters shared their upcoming event on Instagram. I must say I am glad I did as the night was very enjoyable with some great coffee to taste.
You might be thinking well I drink coffee from a cup usually, why make an event out of it? The process of coffee cupping is something that started in the late 19th century. The method is used to observe the taste and aroma of particular coffees. Coffee cupping is used for everything from quality control to informal events such as the one I attended.
How Coffee Cupping Works
To simplify, coffee cupping is a method of brewing coffee. However, it is different to most other brew methods, as the grounds remain in the cup with the water. Additionally, coffee cupping is almost always undertaken with single origin coffees.
While I understand the process, I am no expert and don’t entirely know the specifics of the process. But the basic premise is that you put ground coffee in the cup. Followed by adding hot water and giving the coffee approximately four minutes to brew.
At this point, a crust will have formed on top of the water. As you break the crust with a spoon is the time you smell the coffee for the aroma. The final step is the taste the coffee, essentially slurping it into your mouth to aerate and spread the coffee over your entire palate.
Blackstar Coffee Roasters – Coffee Cupping
The coffee cupping session at Blackstar Coffee Roasters features a total of nine different coffees. There is a list of the coffee’s that were included in the coffee cupping below. There were three each of Ethiopia and Honduras origin, with a Panama and El Salvador coffee in there as well. Also included was the new blend that Blackstar has created called Sweet Dreams.
- Ethiopia, Mithiti. Washed, Heirloom. 1,800m.
- Ethiopia, Yirgacheffe. White, Washed, Heirloom. 1,950 – 2,300m.
- Ethiopia, Sidamo Nasebo. Washed, Heirloom. 1,850 – 2,000m.
- Panama, Kotowa (Duncan). Natural, Geisha. 1,600m.
- Honduras, El Tanque. Washed, Pacas. 1,650m.
- Honduras, Don Fabio. Washed, Catuai. 1,500m.
- Honduras, Marcala Region. Catuai, Pacas, Lempira. 1,300 – 1,500m
- El Salvador, Finca Himalaya. Natural, Bourbon, Pacas. 1,500m.
- Sweet Dreams Blend.
When it comes to aroma the one that most caught my attention was the first coffee I smelled. That coffee was El Salvador, Finca Himalaya. While the tasting notes did indicate dark plum, cherry, cranberry and nougat on the aftertaste, I could not pick these out. However, that I think could have something to do with my palate, which I believe is somewhat underdeveloped.
The coffee which I liked the flavour of the most was the Panama, Kotowa (Duncan). Again the tasting notes did not help me to pick anything specific out. However, it was listed as having cherry sweetness, red apples, lime and hints of peach and jasmine.
Give Coffee Cupping A Try
If you enjoy drinking coffee, especially black coffee I would highly recommend attending a cupping session if you can. They are not something that is happening all the time at every coffee roaster. But if you look out for cafes that deal in speciality coffee or coffee roasters and ask around you are bound to find one sooner or later.