Palate Training: Berries Recap by Steve Willingham

palate training class.jpg

We had a great time hosting our third palate training at the shop today! Focusing on Sun-Dried Processing and Berries, Aria and Caleb walked through the basics of how we taste, coffee processing, and then compared the different berries to each other and KLLR Coffee’s Sun-Dried Ethiopia!

We use palate trainings as a way to share coffee with friends and demystify the idea that tasting notes in coffee is only for real coffee drinkers. Your palate is shaped by the foods you like and don’t like, the experiences you’ve had, and the number of coffees you’ve drank.

How We Taste


Aria took us back to Elementary school to remind us of the five parts of taste (sour, sweet, salty, bitter, & savory or umami) and then discussed how aromatics, tactile sensations like body or mouthfeel, and involuntary reactions like puckering can influence our perception of taste. In short, blueberries taste like our perception of blueberries. If we think critically about what we are tasting: examining the sourness, sweetness, aroma, etc. of each item, we can relate the different attributes of that food to things like wine, cheese, or coffee!

Sun-Dried Processing

palate training processing.jpg

Processing refers to the process of transforming coffee from coffee cherry to coffee bean, ready to be roasted. In the Sun-Dried process, coffee cherries are picked and dried on raised beds with the fruit still attached to seeds. This drying process imparts wild flavors onto the beans that are vibrant, juicy, and sweet.


Interested in learning more about coffee? Sign up for our newsletter!

On Espresso: Ethiopia Guji Highland from KLLR Coffee by Steve Willingham

Right now, we’re pulling an espresso that’s pretty unique for us: KLLR Coffee’s Sun-dried Ethiopia, a natural processed blend of heirloom varieties from a farm in Guji.

KLLR Coffee Ethiopia.jpg

Most of the coffees we feature are processed using the washed, or wet, process. In the washed process, the cherry’s skin and flesh are stripped off using a mechanical depulper, but a sticky layer of fruit called mucilage remains. This remaining fruit is first loosened by soaking in a fermentation tank, then rinsed off. The coffee is then dried so that it can be stored until it’s time to roast. These coffees are known for their crispness and balance which is what we love.

In natural, or sun-dried, coffees, the cherries are spread out on a patio or drying table first, intact. Over several days, they dry up just like any other fruit would in the sun. Then the fruit is removed mechanically, and the new green coffee is stored. Sun-dried coffees are known to have intense fruity flavors which makes it a unique, delicious single origin espresso for us.

Fresh coffee on the left, sun-dried coffee on the right. (Photo courtesy of  Coffee Shrub )

Fresh coffee on the left, sun-dried coffee on the right. (Photo courtesy of Coffee Shrub)

Here’s a bit about this coffee from KLLR: “Guji Highland is a farm located in the southern Guji zone of Shakiso, Ethiopia. When we look for a sun-dried Ethiopia, this is the first place we look. This farm is roughly 250 hectares around 2000 meters above sea level in what amounts to a natural forest of heirloom trees. Someday they plan to build a wet mill, but for now, they're using only the dry process.”

When it comes a to a coffee like this, you can expect an astounding fragrance and some big fruit in the cup. We’re tasting mango, strawberry, and herbs. This coffee is being served in espressos and americanos today and tomorrow, but you can get it in any espresso drink by request. Come try it out!