I recently came across an article that likened certain sections of Berlin (“Berlyn”) to Brooklyn, NY. Apparently there is a good deal of cross-pollination occurring between these two urban hotspots. The other day I was invited by a friend to attend a coffee tasting in Penzlauer Berg, a neighborhood that has been compared to Brooklyn’s Park Slope. Or Williamsburg, I thought as I entered the shrine to coffee known as Cafe ck.
The coffee aroma in the cozy cafe was compelling. Soul music — Mavis Staples, James Brown — spun on a turntable tucked beneath the rear counter. A small shelf displayed trophies and plaques from various coffee-related competitions. The two bearded, twenty-something baristas behind the counter executed their work with earnest precision.
This was my first coffee tasting, or “cupping,” as I learned to call it. The eight participants included several other neophytes. We could tell the veteran cuppers: they had brought small notebooks in which to record their tasting notes.