lifestyle:. Portraits of Coffee Cuppers

like the greatest show on earth

In the heart of the afternoon, a wooden bar finds itself the holder of dreams, dreams from humans as diverse and similar as farmers; producers, coffee buyers, coffee shop owners, baristas and any given fruit lover; coffee is a fruit.

Currently on Tuesday’s and Thursdays, when the hearts of those afternoons are full of additional ceramics and silver spoons are on display, the co-owners of the coffee stop Menotti’s in Venice, graciously give over their already familial space for the staging of the Bianka Bee Show – a being fueled by living and dreaming. At this communal gathering for one and for all for one coffee is brewed by the host with ceremony inspired ritual, and equally cupped the same. The welcomed additional players are your invited vinyl and the spirit of dance.

Upon attending a Thursday cupping in January, among Bianca Bee’s fresh blooms, I found myself a cupper among the show. Inspired by what I found in the cups, I turned my journalistic lens over to the other participants in the show wanting to know why they came, what spoke to them and how many sips did it take, to be touched.  The coffees – heralded from many regions courtesy of Menotti’s relationship with Four Barrel Coffee as its specialty coffee provider – and their impressions through the cuppers lips was like being in the presence of a modern show-maker akin to Cecil B. DeMille who said, “We bring you the circus.” And oh, what a wonderful circus, cupping is.

Sawyer Key


c: Why do you cup?

s.k.: It brings people together. And, you discuss one thing, there’s a focus solely on the coffee; it brings community and togetherness.

c:Which coffee spoke to you?

s.k.: Bulga. It’s always a fave; I don’t do a lot of switching back and forth. This just sticks with me. You know when you know.

c: How many sips?

s.k.: One sip.

Christopher ‘Nicely’ Abel 

c.: Why do you cup?

n.c.a.: I have a better first hand impression of the coffees, knowing what to do with them, what to suggest to customers or not suggest. This is purely from an information gathering point of view, when I taste I get a bit of a flavor map.

c.: Which coffee spoke to you?

n.c.a.: The Gatomboya Peaberry.

n.c.a.: I’ts delicious, it’s like raspberry lemonade man. The Las Canas was amazing, it’s the kind of coffee everyone at the office can be happy with, a Daddy can be happy with, it gets folks comfy. While Kenyan coffees aren’t my favorite, they tend to be too acidic, this one has been great as a cappuccino with intense caramels.

c:.How many sips do you cup in?

n.c.a.: All I need is one sip, one sip, fade out!

Bianka Bee


c.: Why do you cup?

b.b.: It’s beautiful people. I love the community and its so much love too. And, at Menotti’s they let us have a dance party. With coffee, I’m having an intimate experience, as baristas we’re the last one to deal with the coffee.

c.: Which coffee spoke to you?

b.b.: The Walin Gudana. It was really smooth. Chocolatey notes too, I loved it; smooth like butter.

c.: How many sips?

b.b.: I do one sip. If I’m thrown back by the coffee I’ll do two or three and that’s on a second or third pass that I’ll go for a couple sips.

 Derek G. Taylor

c.: Why do you cup?

d.g.t.: Community. Reference. Education. The spirit. And, for the love.

c:. Which coffee spoke to you.

d.g.t.: There were two; La Ilusíon because I was fortunate enough to be at origin and bring it back on a plane in a plastic bag. I went up a crazy mountain to get it. And, the La Lina Peaberry, the awareness of it, kind of tingled on the tongue, its beautiful, its wild.

c.: How many sips?

d.g.t.: Two, I like to do two.


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