A group of eight coffee lovers gathered in my dining room this past weekend for my first ever coffee tasting event. You may or may not have heard of cupping in the coffee world. Our gathering was similar, but a little more low key. We ate bread and scones, met new friends, and let Russell of Perennial Coffee be our guide for the morning. Russell started Perennial Coffee after recently moving to Duluth with his family. He has been experimenting out of his home with hopes for expansion in the future. Russell kindly filled the room with coffee equipment, books, and tasting guides. He began by sharing some of the history of coffee and how it became what it is today. The Coffee industry has traveled through several waves, and Perennial Coffee, with its focus on tree to table quality, is firmly rooted in the third wave. As part of this movement Perennial focuses on ethically sourcing beans from farmers who are pursuing quality in farming practices and processing procedures. We tasted from four regions that day: Colombia, Sumatra, Ethiopia, and El Salvador. The process began with smelling the whole and ground beans. We wrote down what we noticed in the aroma before Russell poured hot water into the grounds and we smelled again. Russell brought along the Coffee Taster's Flavor Wheel to help understand and identify the flavors we might experience when smelling and tasting coffee. (I now want to get one of these for my kitchen wall.) After the aroma test, Russell made small batches of each of the coffees and we commenced with the much anticipated taste test, sipping and slurping our way down the line. I loved looking around the room at the thoughtful tasters as they compared notes with each other. We tasted blueberry, tobacco, earth, nuts, and much more. Tasting the coffees side by side was enlightening as to how they differed from one another.
For a coffee lover, this was one of the best ways to spend a Saturday morning: drinking great coffee with really great people, all quite excited about coffee in general. Russell led us into a discussion of our coffee stories and how it has been part of our lives. We all came to appreciate coffee at different points in our lives and in very different ways, but a memorable experience was the connecting piece for us all. We discussed the slow pace of making a good cup of coffee and enjoying it alone or with a friend or two. Making a good cup of coffee is an experience. This day was an experience, a reminder of the work and precision that goes into an exceptional cup of coffee. I so appreciate Perennial Coffee taking the lead in putting this event together. Duluth is lucky to welcome another great coffee roaster to the area.
You can find Perennial Coffee at the Lincoln Park Farmer's Market and the Downtown Farmer's Market or contact them on their website www.perennialcoffee.com.