Serving Cup of Excellence as Espresso

When serving a Cup of Excellence[1] single origin coffee, does brewing by espresso undervalue what ultimately ends up in the cup? If we assume lighter roasted, filter brewed (V60, Chemex) methods demonstrate the subtlety and complexity of the overall flavour profile, is espresso a waste of a good single origin?

Of course the answer is no, as indicated by the enthusiasm these types of offerings routinely generate in the establishments that serve them – Strauss in Brisbane’s CBD (Web, Twitter) sparking my thoughts on this with a Cup of Excellence La Gloria, El Salvador #7 currently being served as a single origin espresso.

Should we not look to explore the many and varied ways a single origin will express itself through different brewing methods? Altering the concentration, extraction time and any other variable does nothing to alter what goes into the brew – that is, single origin (in this case Cup of Excellence) coffee and water. The output being a very rewarding drink in the cup. Will this be different to a filter brew? Absolutely. Ever so fortunate are we in having the choice in how we sample these fantastic single origins. I have lost count of the times I have been blown away by the results achieved with a particular method of brewing, when my expectations had prepared me for a completely different (read inferior) result.

Whether or not you are a fan of the higher acidity typical of a Cup of Excellence coffee, or prefer a lower acidity, full-bodied espresso, with more cafés willing to offer limited runs or seasonal changes in blends and single origins, along with real passion in how they are brewed and served, we as consumers can only be better off.

My La Gloria? A fantastic, brightly acidic cup with hints of chocolate and berry jam[2]. Followed of course by an Ethiopian Yirgacheffe courtesy of the V60 – the joys of variety and choice! My advice, get out there and try these when offered – it may only be once if it is not your cup of … well, espresso, but you won’t die wondering.


  1. Cup of Excellence is the most prestigious award given to a fine quality coffee. The level of scrutiny that Cup of Excellence coffees undergo is unmatched anywhere in the coffee industry. The prices that these winning coffees receive at auction have broken records and proven that there is a huge demand for these rare farmer identified coffees.  ↩
  2. I highly recommend you try this but make it quick – with only a limited amount available, at $4.00 a cup it is sensational value.  ↩
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