“Coffee cupping, or coffee tasting, is the practice of observing the tastes and aromas of brewed coffee. It is a professional practice but can be done informally by anyone or by professionals known as “Q Graders”. A standard coffee cupping procedure involves deeply sniffing the coffee, then loudly slurping the coffee so it spreads to the back of the tongue. The coffee taster attempts to measure aspects of the coffee’s taste, specifically the body (the texture or mouthfeel, such as oiliness), sweetness, acidity (a sharp and tangy feeling, like when biting into an orange), flavour (the characters in the cup), and aftertaste. Since coffee beans embody telltale flavours from the region where they were grown, cuppers may attempt to identify the coffee’s origin.” -Wikipedia.
I first met Jeremias Paul when he walked into Charles Towne Fermentory and asked if I would like a cup of coffee. He had an insulated thermos of unusual size, and paper cups in his travel bag. I was a bit surprised but couldn’t help thinking, if he carries his coffee with him everywhere he goes, it must be worth tasting.
I was not disappointed.
The rich armoa that wafted out of my cup, complimented the full taste of the Ethiopian blend. Work quickly came to a halt as I buried my nose in my coffee. Jeremias gave me a brief explanation of where my beverage came from as I sipped. I knew then I needed further information.
I was invited along with my wife to the Broom Wagon roasting facility to check out the process and coffee tasting. But I learned it was much more than that.
As we arrived we were greeted by our friends Justin and Julie who were joining us. We walked in the door of the small roasting facility and found a large polished table with rows of cups. Bags of fresh, unroasted coffee beans crowded the end of the table giving the room an earthy aroma. Jeremias and his wife Rachel were busy sorting out the various types of coffee we were going to be sampling while the water steeped.
Rachel and Jeremias both grew up in Pittsburgh, and met in Savannah, GA, in 2001. After marriage, they spent time in various states pursuing teaching jobs. It wasn’t until they moved out West and had kids that they found a yearning for good coffee. They also had a desire to put down roots and have a beautiful place for their kids to grow up in. They chose Charleston to start their family, and business.
A 3 pound Belgian roaster by Giesen dominates one end of the room. Broom Wagon uses it to roast all of the beans used in their coffee. This along with a Javalytics machine to analyze color and a water purification system ensures the highest level of freshenss and taste with every bag of coffee that they produce.
Jeremias’s experience includes certificates of excellence from the Speciality Coffee Association of America, and a Q Grader Certificate from The Coffee Quality Institute. A Q-Grader certificate is the equivilent of a master sommelier in the wine industry.
We learned about roasting beans. From the 1rst crack and the silver skin chaff to immersion brewing. From activating enzymes to skimming the crust. Water content and the cherry of the coffee bean. Jeremias’s knowledge of everything coffee is truly extensive.
By now the scent in the air was heavenly. Our coffee’s were ready for sampling, and we started with the aromas.
“Every harvest is different, sun, weather all can affect the taste of the coffee. It’s important to start every cup with a good sniff of it’s fragrance and aroma.”
There are alot of ways to describe the smells and taste of coffee, and Jeremias guided us to the “flavor wheel”. This helped my brain identify and wrap itself around what I experienced on my taste buds. The Ethiopian, Mexican, and Sumatra brews were suddenly seen in a new light as floral and clove for aromas. Winey and delicate emerged for the taste.
“We want to do something very different with coffee education. Smelling triggers memories, so a good cup starts with a great sniff.”
We spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying our coffees. Also sampled was a collaboration beer using Broom Wagon coffee and Octohops beer. It is a shame there was only one bottle of that. Jeremias has also brewed with local homebrewers Church Creek Brewing. If you haven’t enjoyed a coffee stout before, you need to add it to your list.
As we were leaving, Jeremias gifted us a fresh bag of coffee. The next morning I enjoyed several cups, and for the first time I did not add sugar.
I recommend you check out Broom Wagon https://www.broomwagoncoffee.com/ and order a bag today.