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Jan 30, 2011 12:49 PM

Coffee tasting at Red Rock in Mountain View

Red Rock Coffee in Mountain View holds a coffee tasting about once a month, and I attended the one yesterday.

It's limited to 8 people, costs $25, and lasts about 2 hours. The tasting includes 4 coffees, and you get to take home a 12 oz bag of any of the coffees from the tasting. At yesterday's event, they added an extra bonus premium coffee as well. The menu included:

- Guatemala Concepcion Pixcaya
- Rwanda Rushashi Duhingekawa
- Ethiopia Welena Suke Quto
- Ethiopia Wollega Leka Wato
- Costa Rica Cafetin 1900 Reserve (the bonus tasting)

They don't use the official bowl-shaped "cupping cups": they use demitasse cups (see photo). They brew the coffee in a french press.

In my opinion, it's worth the price. You get to taste multiple coffees side-by-side, compare your notes with everyone else's, have interesting discussion, and pick up tidbits of coffee knowledge from The people who run the place.

A few things they mentioned that were new to me:

- They claim that a french press produces flavor that has greater body, because the metal screen allows more coffee oils to get through.

- Coffee has the fullest flavor between 3-7 days after roasting

- Unroasted green beans have a shelf life of 3-6 months. But after a few months, the beans start to take on a flavor from the bag in which they are stored. The result is often burlap-flavored coffee.

- This year, El Salvador had a bad harvest: coffee harvested anywhere in the country during the summer is generally inferior.

- For cup-at-a-time brewing at the cafe, they use the Clever Coffee Dripper, and they find it to be superior to any other single-cup brewing method, including the Hario V60 and Aerobie Aeropress.
They get the best results when they add the grounds, then pour in the water, then wait one minute, then stir, then wait 3 minutes more, then drain.

To find out about the tastings, send them an email asking to be put on the coffee tasting email mailing list, which is separate from the main mailing list.

Red Rock Coffee
201 Castro St, Mountain View, CA 94041

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    1. As I am becoming more of a Mountain View-ian, I spent some time in Red Rock earlier this week. Some points:

      1) They have Four Barrel coffee, not their own roast. And dang, that four-barrel stuff is great. I bought 12 oz of the Costa Rica Cafetin, and it was great.

      2) The Clever Coffee dripper is pretty cool. It might well be the best coffee mechanism around, since it has many of the positive points of drip, but you can control the brew time. They use that for all their premium drip cups, and sell it there.

      3) the problem with french press is you can't grind the coffee as finely as you can with filter-based mechanisms. Each certainly has their own benefits.

      Also: Barefoot in Santa Clara does tastings, too. Don't know the price or quality, but I saw one once, and it seemed pretty serious.

      Red Rock Cafe
      1010 Lincoln Ave, Napa, CA 94558

      1. Ritual and Barefoot used to do free cuppings - not too long ago. (I lucked out once and got to cup with the team at Ritual)

        You didn't say which coffee you liked best, ssfire.