Blue Bottle Coffee “Free Cuppings”
Out-of-towners like to visit Napa Valley for a bit of wine tasting.
But what about visiting Oakland for a bit of coffee tasting?
Every Tuesday and Sunday at 2:00pm, the Webster Street Blue Bottle Coffee in Oakland offers free public cuppings. That’s what they call tastings when it’s with coffee.
You know all the pomp, flourish and (sometimes) pretense there is going on at wineries with the swishing around, looking for “legs” on the glass? Some folks are so nutty about coffee they do the same for it (and, yeah, “nutty” is something you look for).
What you’ll find is that there’s real coffee and then there’s that black sludge you drink from time to time.
Professional Blue Bottle roasters will guide you, sniffing the coffee, hounding for aroma, then loudly slurping it in an attempt to get the most information. You look for things like oiliness, sweetness, acidity, flavor and aftertaste. You watch for a tangy feeling at the tip of your tongue; and that’s not the same as getting burned from drinking too-hot coffee.
Same as grapevines take in minerals from the soil they sit in and the climate, different coffee bean plants embody flavor from regions they were grown in, so you can try to figure that out as well. You’ll be a pro in no time.
But there’s more: Blue Bottle also does home espresso trainings, brewing classes, and lecture/demonstrations covering selected topics in coffee and food. Check out the Blue Bottle calendar for events.