Jake Brodsky is doing what he can to ensure the farmers he works with are empowered and the clients who drink his coffee are well-informed. Brodsky is President and Co-founder of local, family run Novo Coffee. Next month, Brodsky will travel with his brother Mike to the farm in El Salvador, near Ciudad Barrios, where Novo’s Mundani beans come from. Jake and his brother are going to help coffee farmer Luis Araujo buy motors so that final milling of green coffee beans can be carried out on site, rather than sending them off to a central location, where keeping an eye on quality control is more difficult.
During a recent visit to Novo’s roasting facility on Larimer Street, two friends and I cupped four of Novo’s coffees with Brodsky and his colleague Matt Herbst. We discovered first hand how passionate they are about sharing excellent coffee with Denver.
Novo has begun hosting weekly cuppings that are open to the public (cost is $15 and includes a pound of their coffee that you take home). The main purpose is for people to have the opportunity to taste great coffee and witness how different they are, depending on where they are grown and the wash process used. If you’ve never heard of a coffee cupping, it’s probably because the practice has been primarily a means for coffee buyers to scope out which crop of beans they wish to buy—until now.
Similar to tasting fine wines, coffee cuppings have grown more popular as a means to introduce the public to the concept that coffee can actually taste amazing—without doctoring it up with cream or sugar, which tend to mask nuances of beans that have been roasted to perfection. Roasters like Stumptown host daily cuppings for their clients in Seattle, helping coffee drinkers to develop their pallets. Novo wants to do the same for Denverites.
Brodsky and Herbst understand how subjective taste preferences of coffee are, which is why when asked about the phraseology used to describe aroma, body and taste, a borderline philosophical discussion ensued.
Herbst commented, “One person may use one word to describe a flavor while another person uses a different word. Neither one is right or wrong, it’s each person’s pallet. It’s all a matter of your individual perception of each coffee.” Despite the grey area of subjectivity, Brodsky mentioned that he does hope people find the descriptions he provides about Novo’s coffees as at least somewhat helpful. He is, after all, a professional.
Like many individuals in the specialty coffee industry, Brodsky exhibits the drive to know all he can about coffee and share his understanding with others. He, along with the rest of the Novo crew, want to reintroduce you to coffee. “We’re trying to get people more involved in coffee. We obviously love coffee. The more people who come through here and taste coffees, the better,” notes Brodsky.
To sign up for a cupping at Novo, contact firstname.lastname@example.org