Thursday's Cupping – Subtly

Written by Amy | 1 Comment

Two delicious coffees, but 2 different beans, Mexico La Trinidad Peaberry and Mexico Altura Pluma La Trinidad. Zach (Zach’s profile) was our cupping leader this past Thursday. He decided to approach this cupping in a way that continued to emphasize acidity and body covered in the last two cuppings but he also wanted to help us refine our palates. Zach presented 2 coffees that have many similarities; like growing region, processing, flavors of creamy milk chocolate, but differ in intensity and acidity. Both coffees are organic, fair trade, relationship and shade grown. These coffees come from three villages – Lagunilla, Xanica and Los Naranjos that comprise La Trinidad and are located in Pluma Hidalgo, Oaxaca.

The Mexico Altura Pluma and the Mexico Peaberry are processed the same – depulped, using handmills to remove the fruit (fleshy pulp) from the thin parchment that covers the bean. The beans are soaked in fresh river water to ferment – removing the parchment. The waste from the depulping is used for composting and the water from the fermentation process is re-used for irrigation. Both coffees are 100% sun-dried. The sun-drying allows the green coffee to age incredibly well through out the crop year.

As far as cup characteristics, our cupping baristas found the Mexico Altura Pluma La Trinidad (coffee report) to have a floral acidity, flavors of milk chocolate and crisp fruit. Zach garnished the cupping table with fresh mango (floral acidity), apple juice spiked with apple cider vinegar and brazel nuts as an aid to our developing palates.

We have cupped the Mexico La Trinidad Peaberry (coffee report) once before but not in direct comparison to it’s larger bean counterpart. Peaberries occur naturally as one smaller bean instead of two larger, flat beans inside a coffee cherry. The Peaberry has a more intense flavor and tends to roast more evenly due to its spherical shape. We found the same milk chocolate qualities, but a brighter acidity and a more intense spicy, cinnamon flavor. The “cupping condiments ” included, freshly grated lemon zest, freshly grated cinnamon, milk chocolate and apple juice.

Unfortunately, I could not make the cupping on Thursday but the participants report Zach was awesome his subtle approach to the cupping and it was totally in tune with the subtleness of the two beans.

I cupped these coffees on Friday after Zach gave me the low down. I really love the Mexico Peaberry. It’s acidity totally balances the creamy milk chocolate flavor of the Mexico Altura Pluma while still providing subtle flavors of milk chocolate. However, the milk chocolate fanatics are all over the Altura Pluma.

Zach, you rock in all your “subtleness”, Emily thanks for your cupping leadership at Tazza D’Oro and Aaron (Batdorf and Bronson) tried to download your photo from the Spring Newsletter but it didn’t work. If we can get a real photo, you too will be a Coffee Rock Star in Pittsburgh!


  1. Rich

    Awesome. Just awesome. So glad you guys are doing this on a regular basis. And similar origins to boot. Very nice. We’ll have to make one of these some Thursday if there are any open seats.