The Society of Sniffers and Slurpers

12 years ago Bill Findley 0

by Billy Findley, staff writer

For many Bryan students, coffee is a quaint pick-me-up in the morning and an indispensable abet for concentration at night. However, as of just a few weeks ago, there are a handful of students who have taken the mere act of coffee drinking and transformed it into an art.

Beginning in January, freshmen Daniel Grayton and Nathan Wilkinson, along with junior Zachary Harrison, decided they wanted to start a coffee club. However, according to Grayton, the Coffee Connsoisseurs club is not for people who drink coffee simply to get a caffeine fix.

“The club is for people who like to distinguish the differences in various coffees,” Grayton said.

Club member freshman Showie Bray enjoys a cup of coffee. Triangle photo by Emily Echols.
Club member freshman Showie Bray enjoys a cup of coffee. Triangle photo by Emily Echols.

According to Wilkinson, the meetings are turning out to be a lot of fun.

“The club is great,” he said. “We meet once a week to taste and intricately analyze coffee.”

Forming a Coffee Club

Grayton said he initially wanted to start a dodgeball club but changed his mind when he discovered that several guys in his dorm liked coffee. He immediately went to work organizing the club by finding a faculty sponsor, Associate Professor of Political Science Dr. Ron Petitte, and receiving Dean of Students Bruce Morgan’s approval. The club was granted $100 for its budget.

Grayton said, so far, the club hasn’t had to spend any of its money on coffee. After sending some 120 e-mails out to coffee roasters around the country, the club received a total of 20 pounds of free coffee in about 30 different flavors. One company in Maryville, Tenn., even offered to give club members a free tour of its facility.

“We are going to take a tour of the roastery in April,” Grayton said.

“Cupping”

According to Wilkinson, the club has a specific process for critiquing coffee based on the International Coffee Drinkers procedure called “cupping.” It is a simple two-step process.

First, members smell the coffee beans before they are ground and the coffee is brewed. They then rate the aroma on a scale of one to five. Secondly, members taste the freshly brewed coffee and then proceed to rate certain aspects of the taste on a one-to-five scale.

“We do have a critique sheet, but we are no experts by any stretch of the imagination,” Grayton said.

Another interesting feature in the process, according to Grayton, is that members don’t sip the coffee—they slurp it.

“That’s fun,” Grayton said.

Grayton said the slurping helps one discern the nuances of the coffee’s flavor.

After the members select the coffee they think was the best of night, they brew a full pot of it, and converse with each other for the remainder of the evening.

Plans for the Future

While there were eight members at the first meeting, Grayton said the club has the potential to include several more members. However, size is not the most important aspect of the club. Harrison said a small group of devoted individuals is better than a large group of members who are not completely devoted.

“We never wanted to be too big,” he said.

Grayton said one thing he likes about the club is that it doesn’t have to have a lot of people since all they are doing is drinking coffee.

All in all, Grayton, Wilkinson and Harrison said the club has been enjoyable, and Grayton is encouraging passionate coffee drinkers, both students and staff, to join.