Yes its fine for Indian coffee lovers to skip participating in the World’s Largest Coffee Tasting (WLCT)

Hitanshu Gandhi    Updated
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James Hoffmann conducted the world record making 2020 WLCT on 3rd October, with over 10000 live attendees that loved his thoughtful unique approach. In the live telecast, viewers brewed & learned to taste the exact same coffee with impeccable insights & guidance from James. It was a logistics feat – with almost 10000 packages (1500 tons) being roasted to a precise consistency and dispatched in 15 days. Yet most Indian coffee lovers outside of those with access to a resourceful planner friend like my coffee guru Mr Pande are better off just watching it than participating live by buying a kit.

Surprised to see a long time coffee nerd snob like me advise against an iconic well organized event by our revered global coffee guru, James Hoffmann? Read on!

I would strongly suggest folks living in India to join local groups of coffee geeks or seek out local gurus, such as Geetu Mohnani and attend their workshops for this purpose.

My specific gripes with such an event:

  1. Passive nature of event: A live event of 10k users means you are frankly watching a broadcast passively.
  2. Limited learning without discussion: The value in cupping is in comparing and exchanging notes – often minor variations in process as well as sensory differences mean your observation may vary. Having other seasoned folks help you on this path is the only thing that matters!
  3. Inability to drive decisions: The ideal outcome would be to cup coffees so that you can now order newer coffee as per your palate. Again, needs an active group
  4. Underwhelming coffees: The coffees were very cheaply priced – I suspect they were not necessarily the finest that Square Mile has to offer but merely a great set of teaching aids with good flavor contrast among them.
  5. Bharat pains: We at NCG placed a group order under the guidance of our Guruji, Amit Pande, except multiple faux-pas happened: the order shipped a couple of days too late from UK and then in India, the customs approval was stuck for two weeks. All of this meant we could divide up the group order into individual deliveries by the 17th of October, not the 3rd of October.

Thus – why go through all that pain when you can spend less for a cupping session with local gurus and get all the learning and Cup delicious local coffees? IMHO, nuanced development of palate is best done in iterations – a single cupping will NOT change your knowledge overnight – its a journey. Hence, you are best served by embarking on that evolutionary journey with thoughtful companions.

Of course, if you’re in UK or Western Europe – its no different from a couple of slices of pizza. Go right ahead – its an amazing UNMISSABLE event. No two ways about it!

At the cost of repetition – this advise is less about the event than it being worth the time for people in India!

a. Is it an epic supremely hard to orchestrate event? YES
b. Did JH pull it off brilliantly? YES
c. Will an event even by a knowledgeable person like Geetu come close? Definitely not at first
d. Was the video educational? YES
d. Will I watch the video again and again? YES
e. Do you need to participate in the online event with India specific pains to gain benefits and learn? Respectfully, no