Caffeinated Bliss with Good Food Awards Coffee Week at 18 Reasons

Last Thursday, I had the rare opportunity to try fifteen different coffees from nine different roasters and six different countries, back to back. Teamed with Alex from Ritual Coffee Roasters, Amber from Ecco Caffe, and Elaine from Barefoot Coffee Roasters, plus Suzy, Larissa and Olivia, our amazing 18 Reasons volunteers, we put together quite the caffeinated event!

The coffees ranged tremendously in flavor profile, from sparkling with acidity to round, earthy and mellow . I heard the expected descriptors such as “chocolaty, nutty, floral, bright, creamy” and was intrigued to hear comparisons to “oozing chocolate covered cherry cordials,” “fresh olive oil,” “smoky beef jerky,” and “toasty popcorn.” Both sessions were abuzz with sniffing, slurping, and scribbling cupping notes, all in an attempt to rank each coffee.

Interestingly enough, one coffee stood out as the favorite amongst both tasting groups: the Equator Nekisse, from Ethiopia, which exploded with flavors of blueberry and cherry, in a sweet, clean cup. I’m extremely pleased with the blind tasting results; as Bi-Rite’s coffee buyer, I am always encouraging customers to try out African coffees, and wish more people would give Equator a try–they have some of the best coffees on our shelves!  Perhaps even more remarkable, however, was that although this had the highest ranking in both groups, it was also was ranked as the lowest more than any other coffee in the cupping. To me, this emphasizes how drastic African coffees can be; People either love or hate the intense fruit bomb flavors of a coffee from the Sidama or Yirgacheffe regions of Ethiopia.

For those of you who attended the event and were a little too jittery to write down all of the coffee names once we revealed the roasters, here they are, broken down into the first and second sessions:
First Session (6:30-7:30)

1. Blue Bottle’s Ethiopia Kemgin
2. Equator’s Ethiopia Nekisse
3. Barefoot’s El Salvador Finca San Jose
4. Sightglass’s Kenya Kii
5. Ecco’s Columbia Finca Santaurio Micay
6. Ritual’s Kenya Kiandu
7. Verve’s Panama Elida Estate Natural
8. De La Paz Columbia Finca La Vina
9. Four Barrel’s Kenya Nyeri Tegu

Second Session (8:00-9:00)

1. Blue Bottle’s Ethiopia Kemgin
2. Equator’s Ethiopia Nekisse
3. Ecco’s Kenya Kiunyu
4. De La Paz Columbia Finca La Vina
5. Sightglass’s Ethiopia Aleta Wondo
6. Ritual’s Columbia La Esperanza
7. Barefoot’s El Salvador Finca San Jose
8. Four Barrel’s Ethiopia Wollega Leka Wato
9. Verve’s Kenya Kiunyu

We’re hoping to host more coffee events at 18 Reasons in the future, so please be sure to check back at for more information and our calendar.  Thanks to all who made it out last week; hope you had as much fun as I did.  Let me know if you have any questions on the coffees we tasted!


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