Ka’u is an elegant coffee grown in Hawaii, not far from where Kona coffee is grown. Hawaii is the only state in the U.S. that produces coffee. According to Starbucks, Ka’u was first offered in 2011, and has come back periodically since then. Ka’u has lovely floral aromas but flavors of chocolate and hazelnut.

On Monday July 7th, coffee master walked us through a coffee tasting of Ka’u, brewed via the Clover brewer. In case you don’t know the steps of a standard coffee tasting, here they are:

  • Smell the coffee – What’s the aroma like?
  • Slurp loud and proud – slurp the coffee, getting it all over your mouth and including air with the coffee
  • Locate – Where do you taste the coffee? Down the center of your mouth? The sides of your mouth?
  • Describe – What do you taste? Do you taste chocoate? Nuttiness? Earthy flavors?

Megan walked us through each step, and opened with a small sample of the whole beans, so we could smell and see them. That’s always a best practice to do coffee seminar with some whole bean set up with the coffee. Seeing and smelling the whole bean is part of the coffee education!

Kau coffee with whole bean

When you’re doing a coffee tasting, you can generally think of taking that tasting one of two directions (or both). I have known serious SSC coffee masters who live and breath the words “Compare and Contrast”. The meaning of that is that every coffee tasting should have at least two coffees so you can compare and contrast them. However, when customers are buying coffee for home, generally they’re enjoying coffee with food – so it becomes important for a coffee master to be able to talk to customers about how certain coffees work with certain foods. After all, if you’re not talking to customers about your coffee passion, something has gone awry. The love of the bean is meant to be shared equally with everybody (and heck, you can encourage coffee sales if you’re talking about coffee).

Megan chose to pair Ka’u with a Piroulin cookie stick and the Toffifay hazelnut chocolate candy. I preferred the first pairing (Ka’u with the Piroulin) which made the hazelnut notes pop out and gave the coffee a soft, big flavor in the mouth. I almost that the Toffifay was a little over powering, but it did bring out the caramel notes, and I thought it was interesting how it enhanced the lingering effect of the finish.

I’ve made this coffee at home both hot and as cold brew, and it’s delicious either way.

One piece of trivia: This coffee sometimes comes to the Roastery in very plain burlap packaging. Because it’s a cooperative of farms, there’s an agreement of the farms not to promote one farm over another.

This coffee tasting was hosted at the East Olive Way Starbucks: This store is located at 1600 East Olive Way, in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Call the store for information on more coffee seminars – they’re open to the public! 206 568 5185.

(There is a slight more mobile device friendly version of this article here.)

1 - 1 - Megan pouring the coffee1 - 1 - Megan smell1 - 1 - 2017 July 07 Megan coffee seminar1 - 1 - Megan passing out Toffifay Candy1 - 1 - piroulin cookies1 - 1 - Piroulin long cookies1 - 1 - Toffifay Candy