While profiling roasting maestro Chris Chacko in the June issue of Chicago, we learned just how precise his taste buds can be—even detecting a 10-second-long roasting temperature variation just by drinking the final product.
So we asked this expert to do a blind tasting of seven store-bought coffees and rate them using the Specialty Coffee Association’s 100-point scoring system. The association deems anything above a 70 “very good” and above an 80 “excellent.” In his own coffee, Chacko won’t use any beans that get less than an 80.
“A winy, beautiful coffee. I’m not keen on the aftertaste, but it’s wonderfully balanced.”
“This is definitely a dark roast, but as dark roasts go, it’s OK. It hasn’t been totally carbonized. It might make a good espresso.”
“The flavor is under-developed, but it’s well balanced.
“There’s a nice light green note, but this roast is underdeveloped, too. These must be the oldest beans in the bunch.”
“All you taste is darkness. There’s some lactic acid for a pleasant mouthfeel, but the aftertaste is not pleasant.”
“There’s a subtle blueberry note here—you can tell these beans are Ethiopian. Unfortunately, they’re old, and the roaster they’re using is too full.”
“It’s extremely old, and it’s carbonized. That’s all you can taste.”