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A Better Cup

by Erin Pihlaja on October 31, 2013

 

She looks like she’s praying, this young woman, as she grasps the cup in both of her hands and brings it in to her face. Hands touch each other and then form a seal against her skin, the cup hidden from view. What one sees from the outside, as she breathes deep of the contents in the small dish, is what looks like a woman in worship.

This is a worship—a worship of good coffee by area coffee professionals. This group, the Capital Region Coffee Collective, has gathered for a cupping, to experience how different processing techniques of coffee beans from the same roaster and region affect the taste. 

And they want to teach others about the art of specialty coffee. 

“We’re scientists,” someone says with a laugh after the beans are ground and the water is poured into each cup. 

The collective uses phrases like “break the crust” and terms like “wet aroma” and “dry fragrance.” And they slurp their tastings so the liquid coats the insides of their mouths properly. 

Often the first step towards understanding why good coffee is good is just wanting a better brew. People may simply wonder, says Matthew Loiacono (the roaster at the Uncommon Grounds in Saratoga): “Why is my coffee not tasting great and how can I make my roast better?” 

The collective wants to help the public join the good coffee movement, while it’s still, well, brewing. 

Simon Ouderkirk moved to the Capital Region about a year ago from Providence, Rhode Island, where he says there was a thriving “coffee scene.” 

“It’s just a seed that’s getting ready to sprout,” he says. “The coffee scene is a step behind the food scene. The coffee scene is in a lot of ways, anytime you have an excited group of people working on something that’s exciting, and it spreads to customers and clients. The value equation becomes different for that establishment—you appeal to certain group but you really delight them.”

The  Capital Region Coffee Collective will offer a public cupping event at the Lucas Confectionery (12 2nd St., Troy) on this Saturday (Nov. 2) at noon.