September was a month of cool trainings. Kent broke away for a few days to go to the Seattle Coffeefest, an annual trade show where thousands of people gather to learn, teach, debate, buy, and sell everything related to coffee. A highlight of the trip was a cupping training for roasters. Kent tasted many samples of the same bean side by side, each roasted slightly differently, and he evaluated how minute adjustments to the roasting process either diminished or optimized the flavor of that particular coffee.
Toward the end of the month, Stumptown Coffee Roaster’s staff trainer came to Thump for an in house training. Our staff, and a few customers who were wandering by, participated in a triangulation cupping exercise. We worked with 3 sets of 3 coffees, smelling, slurping, spitting. In each set, one of the coffees was not like the other, and it was our challenge to pick it out. Along the way, we shared sensory observations, developed or made up vocabulary to describe what we smelled and tasted, while being guided by our trainer to taste and smell for specific characteristics of each coffee.
Training Trivia: New Thumpistas are in training for at least 4 – 6 weeks before they are making espresso drinks for the public. In addition to the training we provide, each Thumpista goes to Portland for a day of training with Stumptown and trainers from Stumptown come to Thump multiple times a year to offer 1:1 technique coaching as well as group training to extend our knowledge of coffee.