On the recommendation of a very nice barista at Wicked named Vivian, I picked up a bag of Intelligentsia’s Guatemala Finca La Soledad yesterday. I brewed it in a pourover this morning and WOW!! A very nice coffee. Oodles of body with notes of – it surprised me too – grilled fruit. I don’t know if you’ve ever grilled a nectarine, but it’s delicious – you should try it. That’s also what this coffee reminded me of! Delectable.
Although I’ve been an aspiring coffee geek for about a year and a half now, I’ve never had the opportunity to attend a tasting. I’ve had plenty of straight espressi and a handful of french press/Clover coffees, but I’ve never been able to taste a group of fine coffees consecutively. Last night, at Café Crema in West Vancouver, I had that opportunity.
It was a blind tasting of 12 different single-origin coffees, all roasted by roasters in or around Portland, Oregon. Brent Fortune, owner of a café also called Crema in Portland, brought with him a dufflebag PACKED with coffees to sample. We tasted the coffees in two blind rounds; 5 brewed and one as espresso each round. At the end of each round we compared notes on what we tasted, then listened raptly as the origin, variety, and roaster were revealed.
One of the great things about tasting is that there is no “wrong” answer. Taste descriptors ranged from “blueberry” to “fruit by the foot” to “stumpy”, and even “mud puddle with peppa’ “. I think last night really helped me develop my palate further – that and I gained so much respect for the roasters who have the strength of tastebud to cup 50 or even 100 coffees in a single day.
However, the best part of the night for me was meeting other coffee geeks and getting to chat with them. Brent, besides owning a café, also trains judges for the WBC. Other faces included Troy (Elysian and a premier café in Edmonton), the owner of the new Momento Coffeehouse (website here) in Downtown Vancouver, the man behind the scenes at Elysian, and many more. Sorry to all the others and the last two – I’m horrible with names. There was so much knowledge concentrated in that space and being able to access it was very special.
We are now open! Finally.
Our opening exhibition: WE LOVE YOU COMRADE NAVIN, featuring Navin Party projects, Navins of Bollywood and Quotations from Comrade Navin is up. And warmly accompanying it are a few opening-appropriate works in our café including: the billboard painting and photo document of Navin Rawanchaikul’s 2001 PS1/Public Art Fund project, I ♥ Taxi; Steve Hubert’s The Dive; and two little works by Scott August, Winter Panda and Bull on Pink.
Meanwhile, the café is serving great coffees roasted by 49th Parallel and Intelligentsia. Our current espresso, for those of you who are interested, is 49th’s Organic. And if you do stop by soon, try the Ethiopian Aricha on our Clover. It is really a coffee to write home about. If you are hungry come have a panini we just started selling them a few days ago.
We are located at 140 East Esplanade in North Vancouver BC, just a short walk from the Seabus terminal at Lonsdale Quay and not far from the Presentation House Gallery where I understand this weekend they are opening Phot(o)bjects, a new show curated by Bob Nickas.