Announcing public, blind cuppings: Mondays at 8am

Six years ago, I stood around a table covered in muddy bouillon bowls of coffee with a few young, excited guys at Kaldi’s Coffee. We took turns dipping soup spoons into them and then slurping the liquor forcefully across our taste buds. This was the first time I had participated in a cupping, the formalized ritual of coffee tasting and evaluation. It was the day I fell in love with coffee. I had no idea the diversity of flavors waiting for me in black coffee.

Over the last six years, I’ve spent a majority of my life trying to share the joy I find in the flavors of quality coffee. Throughout that time, I’ve made a decent living working for two great companies, garnered a little bit of cult popularity, and brewed an incredible amount of coffee. Yet, still, I find the easiest and most obvious way of conveying coffee’s quality is by gathering around the cupping table. It is a ritual that takes a little more time than brewing a single cup of coffee, but one that isn’t happening enough.

Starting Monday morning, November 12, I will lead a public coffee cupping at Half & Half. The cupping will start promptly at 8am and last 30 to 45 minutes. We will repeat this ritual every Monday at 8am. It is open to anyone, regardless of coffee experience or opinion. The cupping is also completely free.

Here’s the hitch: we will not discuss coffee by brand, country of origin, or farm. All cuppings will be blind. In fact, they will be double blind so that I am also tasting without knowing the coffee’s identity. My goal is two-fold. First, I want to select coffees for Half & Half’s menu without farm, country, or brand preference. Our coffee menu is dedicated to quality and diversity. Second, I hope to provide a conversation around coffees based on flavor. I’m hoping pleasant surprises will ensue.

After the cupping, feel free to hang out at the coffeebar and buy a drink, donut, or bag of beans. By the way, we’ll now only be open until 10am on Mondays. It will be our day to focus on staff training and taste communication. We hope you’ll join us for the cupping at 8am.

I am also taking open donations for coffees at the cupping. All seasonal, single origin coffees will be considered for placement on our menu. If you’d like to have a coffee on the table, please mail it to my attention or drop it off by Thursday afternoon at 2pm.


Mike Marquard
Director of Coffee, GM
8135 Maryland Avenue
Clayton, MO 63105