Coffee Culture: Kaldi's Teaches Art of Tasting
Monthly "cuppings" at Kaldi's Coffee House in Kirkwood offer a connoisseur's experience.
Last week, I joined Kirkwood baristas Matt Meiners, John Halloran and Scott Kernes as Meiners, a lead barista, educated us about six coffees offered at Kaldi’s Coffee House in Kirkwood through a sophisticated form of coffee tasting called a cupping.
- Burundi Kinyovu,
- FTO Honduras Las Capucas,
- Columbia Monserrate,
- Colombia Cauca Inza,
- Brazil Faf FTO and a
- French Roast
Ground coffee was poured into cups. After we conducted a dry sniff of the grounds, Meiners poured boiling water in the cups, let the coffee steep and then, after skimming off the top layer of coffee, we tasted in slurps.
Meiners instructed us to look for sweetness, brightness, acidity, tartness and palate balance. He also explained how a good coffee “opens up” as it cools to room temperature and reveals different flavors.
For those looking for classic roast with rich flavors, try the Columbia Cauca Inza, a personal favorite for Halloran. For a very approachable coffee with some sweetness and acidity, I suggest the FTO Honduras Las Capucas. The latter is Kaldi’s June 2011 World Tour coffee. The beans can be traced to the exact location where they were farmed.
The Burundi Kinyovu also received favorable nods from cupping participants. Kaldi's barista Joe Marrocco placed first in the South Central Regional Barista Competition using this coffee.
A cupping forces one to truly taste a drink that is often sucked down, understandably, for that essential morning buzz. The tasting process often is one practiced by professionals, but Kaldi’s staff is eager to share the experience with patrons. The Kirkwood location holds monthly cuppings, and the Kaldi’s Roasting and barista education center at 700 St. Bernard's Lane in St. Louis, conducts cuppings every Friday at 2 p.m.