Kenya, and how we describe coffee

We’ve just received a shipment of the highest ranked coffee Backporch has ever purchased, a 93 pt. Kenya AA Thangathi, and we’re very excited. With cupping notes like, “Soft, balanced, sweet-toned aroma: flowers, cedar, chocolate. In the cup crisply dry with a gentle underlying sweetness: night flowers, black currant, cocoa. The cocoa note in particular carries from cup to long, quietly resonant finish.”┬áthis coffee should sell itself right? Well, not exactly. Kenya is a notoriously poor seller at Backporch, even though it is a staff favorite. When asking ourselves why this is, I can’t think of any reason this extraodinarily complex bean shouldn’t ┬ásell except for the scary way that those of us in the industry choose to describe it. Tomato soup, celery, tomatoes, and grapefruit have all been different ways I’ve described Kenyans in the past to customers, only to have them cringe and buy the Sumatra. Sometimes we can ingrain ourselves so much in the industry that we forget that one of our main goals is to teach customers about great coffee, and do it in a way that’s accessible to them. Kenya may taste like tomato soup, but if describing it as so will disuade someone from trying one of the best coffees in the world, then maybe we should put our cupping notes aside and just enjoy the cup of coffee with them. It could spawn some great discussion, and hey maybe they too will taste tomatoes, and it won’t seem so scary to them.

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