Coffee Cupping 101
In the most simplistic terms, cupping coffee is often compared to wine tasting, and is a fun and interesting way to learn about the unique characterisitcs of coffees grown in different coffee producting countries from around the world. Comparing and contrasting coffee is the best way to identify your favorite cup.
The cupping method consists of evaluating six aspects if the coffee;
1. Dry Fragrance – first it is important to evaluate the dry fragrance of the coffee by vigorously sniffing the aromatic compounds released by the carbon dioxide gases found in the freshly ground coffee. The character of the fragrance helps to identify the nature of the taste. Sweet scents may lead to sweet acidy tastes, and pungent scents may lead to sharp tastes.
2. Aroma – the next step is to examine the aroma of the coffee by adding water to the freshly ground coffee. After steeping for about 3 minutes, gently stirring the coffee grounds will release the gasses formed as a result of the addition of water. These aromas usually range from nutty to fruity. This process of taste offers another dimension of the cupping process.
3. Taste – this is a process done using a cupping spoon designed specifically, and a fluid forceful slurping motion spreading the coffee over the entire surface of the tongue hitting the sensory nerve endings which simultaneously respond to the sweet, salt, sour & bitter sensations.
4. Nose – is a term to describe the simultaneous reaction to the tasting process. Without our sense of smell, we wouldn’t be able to distinguish taste profiles.
5. Aftertaste -The flavor of brewed coffee vapors released after swallowing. Commonly referred to “finish”, aftertastes can be chocolatey, burnt, spicy, tobaccoy, tangy, etc.
6. Body – measures the mouthfeel of the coffee, as you are drinking it. Is it thick, light, crisp, oily. All these term describe the body of the cup.
It is recommended that you cup at least 2 contrasting coffees at the same time, i.e a light roast and a dark roast for example, or a Brazil & a Guatemalan. Brazilian coffees are markedly different than the Guatemalan coffees. It is easier to distinguish differeing cup quality characteristics, with contrasting cups. Doing this allows you to see their differences, and appreciate their unique origin specific attributes. This, in turn will lead you to knowing your perfect cup.
Come on into Eysals anytime and sample what we have brewing for the day. We always encourage sampling the coffees before you buy a cup, and we offer a Light roast, Dark roast, Colombian, Decaf & one of Eysal’s specialty flavored blends.