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2017 US Cup Tasters Champ Steve Cuevas Talks Tasting & Branding

GBNA_overallwinner_Blackoak

It’s been almost two years since our last podcast, and it took a very special guest to get us back up and running! Join us for our revival episode where we speak with Steve Cuevas, 2017 US Cup Tasters Champion, roaster for Black Oak Coffee, and winner of numerous other coffee competitions including:

 

  • 2017 Golden Bean Champion
  • Two Golden Bean gold medals and 8 silver and bronze medals
  • America’s Best Espresso

Want to follow along after the podcast’s over? Give Steve a follow on Instagram @dreadfulvegan, and to try his coffee visit Black Oak.

Favorite Quotes:

Whenever I do cuppings, let’s say I have 20 single origins on the table, by the time I get to sample 8 everything is just acidity, bright, juicy. Not very differential. So I have on the back bar, a darker roasted coffee, because having that dark coffee will put it in contrast. So I’ll put that in my mouth and swish it around my tongue and then when I taste the light origin again, everything is more vivid and it pops.

My attitude towards coffee has changed, and the biggest influencer was Cat & Cloud in particular. You know, the first year we won the Golden Bean, the second year we’re competing again and we’re doing great. Then I wanna go check out some people I really admire, Chris Bacca and Jared Truby. I go there with the premise of evaluating the coffee they’re preparing, and I end up seeing all their customer interactions and just seeing how everybody was left smiling ear to ear. And it hit me, when we focus on quality of coffee, we’re only focusing on points, what the coffee tastes like. But in reality we’re cafes and we’re an experience.

Single origin coffee is like a seared ahi tuna, you know you just sear the outside of it and you’re good to go. A medium roast is more of a medium well done steak. You’re letting the heat penetrate more into the center so it’s not as pink. And then when it comes to french roast, you’re adding a lot of heat to it, and so if you have a denser bean, the center of it doesn’t cook as much as the outside. It’s the equivalent of if I’m cooking a 6″ steak, you’re still going to have a little pink in the center. In coffee that rawness relates to origin character.


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