Most commercial coffee beans frankly taste the same. They all have that trademark bitter, roasted espresso flavor that we have become accustomed to. But the flavor spectrum of coffee beans is much broader than that. If you’re ever curious to discover beans that can taste flowery, acidic, chocolatey and much more, stop by Parlor Coffee‘s roasting facility in Brooklyn and try the tasting held every week on Sundays at 12 pm.
Parlor Coffee started 3 years ago as a pop-up in Williamsburg and has expanded rapidly since then. The facility, which is near the Brooklyn Navy Yard, looks and feels like a beautiful and spacious start-up workspace. As you walk towards the “cupping” area, you’ll see cups of different ground beans being set up for the tasting. Hot water is poured to the brim in each cup and seeps for 4 minutes, and then each participant breaks the crust that forms, swiping three times to release the aromas. After cooling for another 7 minutes, the coffees are ready to be tasted, and similar to wine tasting, you really have to slurp and swish the liquid around to taste the different flavors.
When we were there, we tried 5 different beans–the Wallabout and Prospect, which were very drinkable, whereas the Kenya Kiumu, Guatemala Chimaltenango and Colombia San Sebastian were much more complex and unexpected. The Kenya Kiumu was probably the most distinctive of the bunch, in that it was so tangy and floral that I felt like I was drinking an oolong tea. I ended up buying a bag of the Prospect, as I like my coffees to taste a little more traditional, but I did appreciate how unique the single-origin beans tasted.
Parlor Coffee mostly does wholesale business, but I have seen their beans sold at Dover Street Market, and you can always order a cup at their original pop-up location in Williamsburg at the Persons of Interest barbershop, or at Tilda All Day in Clinton Hill. And of course, you can order them online or come buy a bag in person!
Roastery & Tasting Room
11 Vanderbilt Avenue (between Flushing Ave and Park Ave)
Brooklyn, NY 11205
Sundays 12-4, cupping held at 12