Sprudge.com recently attended two top-notch public cuppings, led by Peter Giuliano and Aida Batlle, respectively. Both events took place at the Counter Culture Coffee Training Center in Manhattan. Our second feature focuses on the cupping we attended lead by Aida Batlle.
It’s a few days after the Peter G cupping, and Aida Batlle is in town to with coffees from her farms in El Salvador. In case you’ve been living under a specialty coffee rock for the last decade, Aida Batlle is the producer behind extraordinary coffees such as Aida’s Grand Reserve, the fabulous Grounds For Health auction Kilimanjaro, Los Alpes and Finca Mauritania auction lots, and Cascara, which has been made into tea, beer, and fancy cocktails.
Aida is distinct among coffee farmers for a variety of reasons. For starters, she’s incredibly accessible, traveling often to America and around the world for events (including attending last Summer’s Camp Pull A Shot barista retreat). For many baristas and coffee types, Aida is commonly the first producer they’ve ever met. She’s tremendously well-publicized, having been featured on the cover of Barista Magazine (her cupping at CCC was attended by several journalists), and she doesn’t really fit the mold for what people think of when they think of “meeting a farmer”. Leave your preconceived notions of occident and orient at the door: Aida dresses better than you do, is staying somewhere nicer than where you are, and will drink your ass under the table.
We cupped a series of Aida’s “signature” coffees for Counter Culture, including the Finca Kilimanjaro, whose washing process mimics those commonly found in Kenya, along with coffees from Finca Tanzania, Finca Mauritania, and Los Alpes. Among the small but well-heeled group, Los Alpes won the straw poll for the favorite coffee, with many people pointing towards its clarity and charming acidity – perhaps a by-product of the fact that Los Alpes is only just now becoming available to the American coffee market, having previously been shipped exclusively to Japan. The natural process Finca Mauritania had a remarkable berry and sweet lemonade flavor that earned several appreciative exclamations from the crowd – something along the line of “that’s so dope”, or “this tastes like huckleberry syrup from IHOP”.