Spent an interesting few hours at Cafe Imports. As part of a fundraising event at the Dude's school, I had purchased the right to a behind the scenes tour of a coffee importing business, and an hour of sampling (cupping) beans. This was part of the Great Gathering Series at Friends School. It's a little hard to describe - but as a way to raise money, parents and supporters of the school arrange events (wine tastings, dance lessons, etc) where people donate their time, services, or skills. Participants (parents and friends of the school) then donate money to participate in these events. I was one of 6 who purchased the chance to spend about three hours learning about coffee, touring a real-life coffee warehouse, then cupping coffee in the sampling/cupping room at Cafe Imports.
Jason is a Friends School parent and co-owner of Cafe Imports. He gave a brief history of coffee production, then explained his business, then led the tour. The finale was the cupping which involves testing beans by preparing a pseudo-coffee (not the stuff you normally drink) then sniffing the dry beans, and later slurping and spitting. It's a lot like wine tasting, with a lot of discussion about the various fruity notes, etc we experienced. Unlike wine tasting, coffee cupping leaves you a bit more buzzed in the end.
That's the short version - but need to help shoo the kids off to bed.