TKA Faculty and Students Take on Coffee

Cristina Lahud, Editor in Chief

The panel is excited to begin their taste testing of the coffee at Premier Cafe. 

Students and faculty are very excited for the new Dimino student Center to open next fall. The center will include a student study space, a mock courtroom, dining space, and a coffee shop. Yes, a coffee shop. TKA is pleased to announce that they will be opening their very own coffee shop right on campus. It will be a specialty coffee shop with a unique brew and espresso. This past weekend former student Mikayla Apicella hosted a panel of teachers and students in her coffer shop Premier Cafe and Roasters for a “cupping” to choose the specialty blend for the new shop. The panel consisted of Ms. Spell, Mrs. Lockmiller, Ms. Gay, and Mr. Stuart, who were joined by seniors Cristina Lahud and Gaby Bueno.  The cupping was a blind tasting of brewed coffee as espresso. The panel was given a packet with flavor wheels for the coffee and the flavor profile of the coffee. The mission was to determine the notes and flavors they tasted and note them in the packet and with the wheel. The first round was brewed coffee. The panel was given two pour-overs to try, and they noted their thoughts. One gave nutty, grainy notes with a quick finish. The other gave maple, herbal, and fruity notes and lingered making it a much more complex brew. Then it came time to vote on which would be the shop’s specialty brew. Three votes went to the Brazil roast and three votes went to the Peru roast, the complex one. The espresso round operated in the same way. The flavor profile of the first was revealed to be molasses with hints of chocolate and hazelnut. The second has hints of caramel, wheatgrass, chocolate, and it lingered on the palate. The second roast, from Bolivia, was a unanimous favorite against the blend from Sumatra, Peru, and Brazil as it was unique and very different from what the panel had tried before. Premier Café then made each panelist’s favorite drink with the espresso they had chosen for the shop. The drinks were delicious and showed what the drinks would be like in the new shop. Not only was the panel able to try the drinks but they learned much about coffee itself. Brewing is much harder than it seems as the settings of the machine have to be perfectly dialed as they can affect the flavor. The region of the beans also determines its flavor and gives the brew a distinct flavor. The Bolivia and Peru roasts were more complex due to their region rather than how they were prepared. The soil and what is grown around the beans heavily impacts the flavor. The panelists soon quickly became experts in coffee. This was a novel experience for the panel as they had never tried coffee this way and they learned much from the experience. TKA students are in for a real treat next year with the coffee chosen during the cupping. It is sure to be a success.