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One of my favorite things is a great warm cup of coffee on a cold fall morning. But I have struggled to brew the perfect cup at home, especially when looking down the aisle at all the different types of roasts, beans, and brewing options. We recently had the opportunity to join Counter Culture Coffee for a coffee cupping, where we taste tested and explored the variety of possibilities.

Tucked away in Durham, surrounded by office buildings, Counter Culture roasts and ships orders daily, providing coffee at its most fresh. As we talked about coffee and the differences behind the bean, we had the chance to try the same coffee bean processed in two different ways. On one side we had a coffee which had gone through the "washed" process, where the seed was pulled from the cherry. The other had endured "natural" processing, where the cherry sat in the sun and essentially dried out before having the fruit portion removed. Amazingly enough we were able to see a distinct difference between the two, each of us preferring a different method, as we went through the cupping. We tested the fragrance, or how it smelled after being ground. Then it was the aromatics, once hot water had been added. For the aromatics, you smell it twice, once with the crust, and once without. Then came the chance to try it. Slurping was a must, allowing the coffee to aerate and the brightness, flavor, body, and aftertaste to be experienced.

One of our favorite things about our cupping was seeing the passion behind all of the Counter Culture employees. In spite of being around coffee daily, grinding away (I couldn’t resist), they never get sick of it. They still sip and slurp at each cupping, finding new flavors and elements they may not have noticed before. You can see their genuine love of coffee and what they do.

Interested in doing a cupping yourself? We are excited to bring Counter Culture to the Umstead for our next installment of our Artisan Confections, where you can sip and slurp yourself and taste coffee alongside Executive Pastry Chef, Evan Sheridan’s delicious pastries. Join us on October 25 and see what aromas, flavors, and fragrances you find.  Call 919-447-4050 for tickets.

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