Cupping Room: The Approach to Our Coffee Selections
Cupping is a practice often used in the process of realizing quality and value of a coffee. This is how it works: We seek raw coffee we would like to offer our customers, then request a sample of our selected varieties. Upon arrival, these samples are roasted on our sample roaster which produces about 3 ounces of roasted coffee. After roasting, we use standards written by the Specialty Coffee Association to weigh and grind a small amount of coffee, which is then placed into a cup. We set up 5 cups from each sample, then follow process to extract and taste each cup.
We cup to realize quality and value. We place a focus on identifying defects that might exist in our purchase, giving us a chance to approve or disapprove of the batch. But it doesn’t stop there - cupping is part of our daily ritual. We cup regularly to maintain calibration, discern changes in quality, and discover how our coffees work together to create balance. We also cup to recognize a coffee’s greatness!
For us, it’s all about starting with a solid raw-coffee quality that exceeds the SCA standards of 80 cupping points, and has no primary defects that may impact taste. This is our minimum quality. Our maximum quality depends on how much we can get you to like stellar quality coffees so we can buy them and you can enjoy them!
The Thornton Family Coffee Roasters brand has varying levels of blends. These blends are intended to offer consistency in taste and style and will fall into the higher level of quality taste experience. We absolutely offer more coffees and variability in taste, but will change the taste through creative roasting and use of our single origins. We will always have our signature espresso and drip brewed blends. We will also develop blends that fit well with customer’s businesses through customization, working face to face to perfect what suits them and their needs.
Roasted to offer no roast impingement, this blend is a balance between sweetness, viscous body, and intensity, and is designed to meet most consumers taste preferences. This blend will be used for espresso and espresso based drinks, but can also be used for drip brewing. It's recipe will include between 2 to 4 rotating origins based on the raw coffee’s harvest seasons. As a lighter roasted espresso blend, it’s intended to allow sweetness to come out without impinging heavy roasty flavors.
Also roasted to avoid roast impingement, it will be made with 2-4 revolving origins, dependent on their harvest times. This is a blend intended to be brewed through a drip brewer, single cup pour over, or single cup home brewing machine. It will have clear sweetness and balance, changing as the crops harvest changes and as fresher coffees are used.
For special occasions and events that may be taking place in the local area or in the lives of our friends and neighbors, we will occasionally offer a rotating blend in addition to our Espresso and Drip brewed blends. Our rotating blends will be developed from single origins that best fit with a slightly darker style of roast profile. We work with our customers to discover their own sense of style and quality, and design blends with those intentions in mind.
Our Single Origins
Our single origins are what we use to create variability in taste. They can all be used for espresso and they can all be drip brewed. Although we do develop other blends, we believe having one primary espresso and one primary drip blend, along with 4 to 6 single origins, offers our customers a broad range of primary tastes they can experience that might not exist in our blends. This is an offering that fits with today’s more sophisticated Portland and suburban consumers. Our single origin coffees will be bought from primary origins as they are harvest and will include countries like Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Guatemala, Panama, Colombia, and Sumatra - just to name a few. Our intention is to always have between 4 and 6 single origin coffees being offered at any given time and realized through what is freshest from recent harvest. Some basic facts about our single origins:
They will not have the same consistent taste from year to year. The reason is because climate and production changes from one year to the next creates variability. They will, however, consistently be great! Just a little different tasting as new crops come in. Consistency is why blends were developed. If you need close consistency, stick with the blends. But, one of the cool things about specialty coffee is variation in their taste, they change from one year to the next and throughout the year. This is an opportunity to learn more about single origins and their taste variations.
Our blends and single origins roast profiles and roast levels will change slightly over the course of the year. This is to accommodate the changing raw product as its water activity settles down since harvest and while it sits in storage for the short period we consider fresh. The roast profiles and roast levels won’t change dramatically, but they will change. Part of what makes specialty coffee special is treating it as an agricultural product, like it is, because we realize crops change throughout the year. We make changes to our roast profiles as a continuous adjustment to fit the changes of the green coffee.
Private Label: Custom Roasted and Packaged Coffee
We are excited to work with your business to develop blends and seek unique single origins. We offer customized roasting and blending to be packaged with your business label, and do so with the same care and quality standards we uphold with our own brand. So, if you are looking to have your brand developed and roasted by Thornton Family Coffee Roasters, let’s talk more about that!
We are also open to purchasing directly sourced coffees that fit your business needs, especially if you’re seeking to offer something unique to your consumers with a direct connection to growers, and is specific to your business.