Tastings to educate coffee lovers on the diverse qualities of Asian brews

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Coffee expert Jen Green pours a cup. Kimberley McCosker

Tastings to educate coffee lovers on the diverse qualities of Asian brews

In the coming weeks, Feel Good Cafe is set to start running coffee-tasting workshops for tourists, expats and local baristas keen to increase their appreciation of the beverage’s finer qualities – especially Southeast Asian varieties.

On Monday the cafe held a test run with a group of local coffee lovers to try out the concept.

The participants got a brief lesson in coffee tasting and were able to sample single origin coffees from Dalat, Luang Prabang, Laos and northern Thailand along with the Feel Good Cafe’s local blend.

Leading the workshop was Jen Green, a former lawyer from the US who is now regarded as one of Cambodia’s foremost coffee experts.

She’s worked as a consultant for several local cafes including Feel Good and the Kettlebell Cafe and has her own pop-up cafe called the Disappearing Brew Bar.

“We want to raise awareness and appreciation of some of the really great coffee being grown in the region,” Green said.

“We also want people to see how diverse the flavour of coffee can be, even from within the region, and the distinctive notes that it is possible for coffee to have; this is what makes a coffee ‘speciality’.”

Green started by giving the participants a rundown of how coffee is harvested and roasted, then had them taste a variety of foods – bitter dark chocolate, sour lemon, sweet jam – to help their taste buds identify flavours they could use as a reference when tasting the coffee.

After having a smell of the dry coffee grounds, the coffee was served up black in glasses. However, there is no sipping in official coffee tasting.

Green said the best way to get all the flavours and aromas “in your face” was to take half a spoonful and slurp it loudly from above, aerating the liquid in the process.

The place sounded like a Tokyo ramen joint at lunchtime.

As the group began discussing the flavours detected in each coffee, few of the participants were able to find much to say.

They all tasted different but describing the different flavours was tough.

Some were a little more citrus. Others had a deeper, almost chocolate flavour.

“It can be hard to tell what you’re tasting at first,” said Green.

“But the more you’re conscious of what you’re putting in your mouth, the more you’ll taste.”

For more details on the coffee tastings email: [email protected].

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