Coffee tasting is also known as “cupping” is a process that involves curiosity and discovery. Flavor notes are explored in detail which helps one to identify and appreciate the finer points of specialty coffee.
The coffee industry uses this method to control and measure the quality of coffee beans. It is an industry-wide practice that is employed by exporters, importers, roasters, and baristas. Professional cuppers exist who work for coffee companies whose sole tasks include sourcing, tasting, and choosing the best coffees in the world. There are also international cupping competitions that award the best in the field.
As with all fields of expertise, practice is important to become a tasting expert, and it is easy to practice at your own pace and convenience given the right setup, here are our recommendations:
- Manual Brew Device (e.g. V60)
- Brewing vessel (e.g. Hario V60 Range Server)
- Precision scale
- Cupping Bowl
- Cupping Spoon
- Pour 12 grams of coffee beans into the first cup. Grind each dose of beans to a medium grind, pouring the coffee back into its cup.
- Repeat with other beans, but clean the grinder by grinding through a tablespoon of the next type of bean.
- When all the cups are full of ground coffee, smell them and take note of how the aromas compare.
- Bring water to the boil, let it cool down to 93-96 °C. Pour the water over the coffee and make it fully saturated. Use the scale to have the correct volume of water to beans.
- Leave the coffee for 4 minutes and evaluate the aroma of the “crust” - the floating layer of coffee grounds.
- After 4 minutes, use a spoon to gently stir the surface of the coffee three times, breaking the crust. Rinse the spoon with hot water between every cup so as not to transfer any flavour from one cup to another. Bring your nose to the cup as you break the crust to feel the release of aromas.
- Skim off the foam and floating particles with the help of two spoons, putting them in hot water after every cup.
- When the coffee is cool enough to taste, dip your spoon in and slurp the coffee from the spoon into your mouth with a little air (to spread the aromas and the liquid across your palate).
- Try different coffees to compare tastes and flavor.