I have a friend who’s a recording engineer. I once asked him what he felt was the most important thing he’d learned in order to make his recordings sound so good. He told me the greatest thing he’s learned is how to listen. I’m going to say the same thing about coffee. I realize I’ve learned how to taste coffee from coffee experts. As I’ve said and written before, there is no substitute for in-person hands-on experience and learning directly from the world’s experts. That’s CoffeeCon.
Now to some exciting news: I’d already contacted Kenneth Davids, a coffee writing legend if there ever was one. The wine industry has Robert Parker; coffee has Kenneth Davids. Ken’s CoffeeReview.com is the Holy Grail ratings system the industry lives and dies by. If there’s one person in the US who knows how to taste coffee and describe what he’s tasted, it’s Ken Davids.
I originally asked Ken to do a short lecture describing how he tastes coffee. I figured it would be interesting for consumers to get a capsulized view that would help us realize more value in our coffee. Well, it’s grown from there. Ken started describing a much bigger concept involving everyone being given heat-resistant glasses and being able to taste six very distinct coffees. Each comparison would demonstrate differences like geography, processing, roast, combined with Ken’s always fascinating expert descriptions. I asked Mahlköenig about a supplying a grinder; Wilbur Curtis if they’d bring some machines. Once I announced who they were for, I got instant agreement.
Two flights of three coffees (comparisons of two coffees) will take place. The first flight will be three washed coffees focusing mainly on variety and elevation, plus some discussion of roasting, harvest and processing refinements.
Then a flight of two naturals and a honey coffee (or three naturals), focusing mainly on processing variations, but also on variety and whatever else is relevant.
We will be seated at tables, partly to rest our cups so we can take breaks between tastings and partly to foster discussion among us while we sample. We’ll compare This is an interactive seminar. I’ve reserved the entire third floor of Morgan Manufacturing for this session. It is nicely quiet two floors above our CoffeeCon exhibit space.
I can promise you this will be life-altering. How we taste is the ultimate big picture. I’ve had the opportunity to taste and compare coffees with Ken Davids many times and I’m still learning. This, however, will be the most intense session I’ve ever had with him devoted to this topic. I expect to learn as well. I recommend this session to consumers, but also to others. If you’re in the coffee trade, it will affect how you brew, or expand your palate, cause you to reconsider roast choices or inspire you to seek out more exotic beans. Restaurateurs take note, especially those who may wonder if coffee is truly an epicurean culinary art on par with wine and their other savory foodie delights. CoffeeCon veterans may ask if they’ve attended George Howell’s tasting sessions at our past event, if they should attend. The answer is simply, yes. I know and respect both of these experts, but Kenneth brings a very different perspective. At some point would be like asking if you should take an afternoon to play guitar with Jimi Hendrix, after you’d jammed with Duane Allman, were either possible. In this case, it’s not only possible, but virtually mandatory. The closest thing ever to this session was a tasting Ken Davids told me he’d don’t in Japan for 1000 attendees.
This will be a more intimate opportunity and will have coffees specially roasted under Ken Davids personal supervision. I know the term life-changing is often a cliché, but I really think in this case it’s applicable. Don’t miss this once in a lifetime opportunity.
Please Note: Kenneth Davids Tasting Seminar requires an extra separate purchase in addition to a general admission ticket.