So my brain was feeling very loved indeed when it (and the rest of me) was invited to be Campos Coffee's guest taster this month, for some single origin beans from Papua New Guinea's Barioda Estate.
I was lucky enough to try these special beans before they hit the shelves, and I also got schooled on what it takes to make a macchiato more moreish.
Does this grind really deserve its own 30 days of fame? Let's find out.
John did really well in translating my wine tasting experience into the world of coffee so I could understand what I was getting into. Flavours change over time, terroir is important, and you can spit into a bucket if you don't want to get drunk.
Hang on, coffee doesn't get you drunk. I need to look at my notes again...
There are so many extremely thoughtful touches throughout the process of getting the humble coffee bean to the perfect roast that I suddenly appreciated what effort was required to made an artisanal cup of coffee.
Shipping select beans from their source in special bags and roasting them at the perfect temperature (which is monitored to the nth degree) are just two ways to ensure we get to drink highly optimal cups of coffee.
John very patiently guided me through the process of a cupping session, which involves sucking coffee off a tablespoon quickly at top slurping decibel. This aerated the coffee to bring out all of the hidden flavour nuances. If you see me doing this down at the local cafe, you'll know I'm just checking for hints of hibiscus.
On the nose, I was definitely hit with scents of hazelnut, which is pretty up there in terms of my favourite nut hierarchy (peanuts be gone with you).
We then tasted the coffee at numerous times over the space of 30 minutes and the range of flavours in this ever evolving drink was really amazing. On first sip there were lovely dark chocolatey tastes which then gave way to a more fruity cherry flavour before finally exposing slightly savoury tastes of thyme and caraway seeds.
For anyone looking at that description with a quizzical face, I'm happy to admit that I don't think about all of these things necessarily when it's 6am and our coffee machine has just poured me a cup of anti-cranky-pants. But I do always know when I like a certain coffee and when I don't. It's all of these taste and smell and balance nuances that come together to create said really good cup of coffee.
I have to say that stopping to really think about the flavours in this little cup of goodness was a wonderful way to experience a bit of mindfulness and living in the present moment, and that's something I have tried to carry through to my first sip of coffee in the mornings.
I'm not quite at master zen level, but I'm getting there. Oprah would be proud.
It was very different.
By comparison, the supermarket coffee smelt like cardboard and tasted like smoke. To be honest, it was like what you have to drink when you're on a road trip and have no option but to pull into a McCafe. It was a no brainier that the care and effort put into the Campos beans paid off massively.
Apart from the taste, there's another reason I love this month's coffee of the month. Campos teamed up with the producers of the Barioda Estate to build a school for 68 kids at the estate itself, which gave back to the community in a direct way.
This genuinely makes me enjoy my Campos flat whites even more than I already did.
I'd love to hear anyone else's thoughts though. If you pop into Campos and try these beans, come back and espresso your thoughts in the comments below!