Sunday, March 4, 2007

A Family of Tastes

On the subject of coffee, I enjoy a good tasting, more than a little bit, and I enjoy watching people become amazed by really TASTING coffee for the first time. I really, really enjoy it when you get some amazing coffee and pair it with some very passionate people, then you're in for a real treat.

Just going into one of Novo's cafes can only give you a hint of what they're about, one that you can't quite grasp, its a palpable feeling you get, exciting and calming, all at once. They really do love their coffee, and they get giddy about just serving it to you and watching your reaction at first sip. But today isn't about their cafes, its about whats in the cup, and whats in the cup is very exciting.

The coffee on the menu today is: Tawar (Sumatra), Abeba (Ethiopia), and Los Lajones Estate (Panama), all excellent in their own right, but all very different. We are at their Denver Art Museum locale, and they have kindly set out some goody bags for our enjoyment. (I love swag, and I really love coffee swag.) The event is informal, but quite a few people are dressed up, with two ties in attendance, and three dresses, I'm impressed, but this coffee deserves this type of respect, and I'm all for it. Everyone is happily talking amongst themselves, but not everyone is at ease yet, and they are just looking around, so I talk to to a few of them, and they meld into the group, confident that they're at the right place. There's about 18 people in attendance, not bad for hardly telling anyone, but we, as we are informed, are the guinea pigs for the tasting, and they don't want to do a full dog and pony show and be unprepared.

The tasting starts with a few words from everyone, and introductions are made, we sit and they bring us some ground coffee of each type, we smell each and write down what we think it smells like on some tasting sheets. After this, we mingle, and talk to other tables while they prepare some press pots.

I go and talk to Herb Brodsky, and we sit a little bit removed from the event while we comment on how good it feels to have people enjoying the coffee that his son sourced, and his other son roasted, he must be on cloud nine right now. I'm going to visit the roastery this upcoming Wednesday, now that is a great development.

Now the coffee is coming out and I head back to my seat as the first cup has been served, and the second is coming out, and we get into it. At our table we decided to not have the coffee's labeled, this didn't turn out as well as planned, most people at the table are new to this, but after a bit of coffee wrangling, it all got sorted out, and will be labeled in the future to avoid confusion. The tasting goes on for another 40 minutes, talking and tasting, writing notes and tasting again, people really start to get into it, and then people start to mingle again. One table decides its had enough coffee for the night and cuts out before they go overboard. All the Novo employees are walking around and talking to the people at tables, answering any questions, giving their thoughts on coffee philosophy.

As the night wraps up, and everyone starts winding down, the feeling of the nights event starts to wash over you, and I feel somewhat elated and sorrowed at the same time. Although I love their coffee, love their philosophy, I feel as though I am still an outsider, not quite part of the Novo family, like someone looking into a house with a great party going on, but you not old enough to go. But I'm also so very excited, I got to at least SEE the party going on, and I know what going on. As my wife and I leave, on a caffeine high, feeling as though we could rule the world with just a flick of the bean, we resign ourselves to just having one day a month to really get into the hearts of the people who find, cultivate, nurture, and roast this wonderful coffee. This is my first, First Friday, and hopefully not my last.

-Ryan

Try their coffee at: novocoffee.com

1 comment:

Johnny said...

It's great to see you enjoyed our first coffee tasting. I'm looking forward to doing some real cuppings soon. Hope you can make it to more of them.