- Kit Overview
This kit includes 200g each of two distinct lots of Kenya coffee. Both are grown, harvested and processed in the same region, are roughly the same cultivars, both highly scored when first released and, in all respects VERY similar coffees except for one variable: one is from a recent harvest and the other from a harvest a couple years ago.
Today, these coffees taste substantially different! And this is because the older coffee's age comes through very distinctly in the cup. If a professional was cupping this coffee, they would immediately detect this "past crop" taste and aroma (defect), and score it accordingly. You should be able to do the same.
If you look at the bottom of your Mill47 Lab Card, which is a reprint of the SCA Flavor Wheel, you'll notice the bottom wedge is labeled, "Paper/Musty." The four right-most sub-categories are: stale, cardboard, papery, woody. This is the range of aroma and flavor that you should be able to easily detect.
Especially if you do a side-by-side with the fresh crop Kenya.
- Basic Instructions
- Roast the Same
- Try to roast both samples as close to the same as you possibly can. The aim is a side-by-side where you try to eliminate as many variables as possible. When doing a comparison like this try to get your roaster in a state where you can expect each coffee to experience the same roasting environment. This means you may want to roast a separate batch first as a way to preheat your roaster. Then, roast your comparison coffees so you'll be starting off with something like the same equipment temperature for each sample.
- Roast Lighly
- As a rule-of-thumb when evaluating coffees, lighter roasts will give you access to a coffee's highlights much more than darker roasts. We recommend dropping coffees before the end of first crack and cooling them quickly. Resist the temptation to brew these right away but allow them to rest at least overnight.
- Cupping / Evaluating
Cupping refers to the systematic sensory evaluation of coffee. This age-old practice is used to carefully inspect (and score) all the aromas and flavors in a particular coffee. See our guidelines on official cupping and printable forms if you want get acquainted with this practice. If not, just make sure you brew both samples identically and taste them. In this case, we recommend brewing the coffees a little stronger than you normally would so nothing gets by you.
With the Lab Card by your side, taste the coffees, aerating (slurping!) while tasting and note what you detect. Move back and forth between the two samples, logging your discoveries. Repeat this several times over the course of 15 minutes or more. You'll notice the flavors evolve as they cool.
- Mentally Log the Stale Taste
We have little doubt you'll be able to detect the papery staleness of the past crop coffee. Taste this enough times to log it into your memory. It's a distinctly unpleasant flavor that you should be able to easily recognize in the future...that is, if you happen across a tired batch of green coffee or someone slips you something shamefully old!
Have fun learning!