Specialty Coffee in Shanghai – Cupping with Royal Coffee

Posted by on Jul 26, 2013

Last week our favourite specialty coffee importers Royal Coffee made a trip all the way from California to see what we’ve been doing in Shanghai.  They came to learn about the Chinese coffee market, and put together a presentation about specialty coffee in Shanghai.  Along with that, we teamed up with SeeSaw coffee to do a cupping of some of their current stock, and ignite a few sparks within the Shanghai coffee community.

Royal Coffee Presentation

Here’s the list of what we got to cup:

  • Sumatra Mendheling
  • Ethiopia Natural Alicha
  • Honduras Madre Selva
  • Honduras Pablina Martines
  • Sumatra Honey Processed Mandheling
  • Ethiopia Guji Sidamo
  • Brazil Fazanela Aurca
  • Costa Rica Genesis Finca Oscar
  • Hawaii Mono Makapueo
  • Ethiopia Kochere Chelektam
  • Mexico Ramal
  • Kenya AA

Aside from the cupping it was great to see friends, coffee lovers and other micro-roasters get excited about pushing the quality of Shanghai to the next level.  Along with the crew from SeeSaw we had specialty coffee pushers Punk, Cafe Del Volcan, Carmo, Cambino all buzzing around the cups.  We cupped all the coffees blind so there wouldn’t be any bias, but most of the coffees were bold enough to be recognized from the first sniff.



While all the coffees on the table were top notch, we always have favourites. Dave’s top pick was the Ethiopia Alicha (no surprise). The natural process gives this coffee a complex flavour full of almond and floral notes. As always with Dave’s favourite coffees it has a beautiful sweetness and berry undertones.  I was most surprised with the Brazil Fazanela Aurca. While it had some of the expected Brazil flavours, it had a distinct spicy and woody aroma that I’ve never come across in a Brazilian coffee.  It is grown at a much higher altitude than typical Brazils, giving it the earthiness usually reserved for Sumatran regions.

It was great to have Max and Peter from Royal Coffee here to inspire all of us and give us access to these great coffees. We are expecting our shipment from them to clear customs any day.  In the mean time, come to our cafe – we still have most of these coffees left in small amounts for you to try!


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