January 8, 2012

Coffee Cupping - Explore Your Cup Today


Over the holidays, I had the opportunity to cup coffee in the State Street Gimme Coffee location in Ithaca - a fun hour or so, and it taught me to take a step back, slow down and explore more flavors that I have in a long time. While we cupped coffee in a slurry brew in some very controlled conditions, you should try a few steps on your own at home to explore on your own:

  1. Grab a Coffee Tasting and Flavor Wheel - it will give you a good start so you can taste some of these great flavors present in coffee.
  2. Learn about tasting vs aroma - you can taste sweet, salt, bitter and sour; the rest is really aroma that really make coffee amazing
  3. Brew up a pair of coffees, or espressos and taste them side-by-side - hopefully you can brew them easily and quickly so that they are similar in temperature
  4. Smell the coffee, and look for aromas while using the aroma side of the coffee tasting wheel. There's a lot, but start in the middle and move out as you uncover new details.
  5. Taste - notice where you taste the acidity; there is a lot of acid in coffee, and it really plays a huge role in how coffee. Look at the Taste side of the wheel, see what you taste, but then flip back to the Aroma side and see what you "Taste" when you drink it. It's great. Some use a spoon to slurp it, to aerate the coffee aromas as you bring it into the mouth. Go ahead; make some noise!
  6. Finally, decide if you like the cup.

I like to pick up a new and different coffee or espresso on a regular basis, and cupping new coffees can be fun to learn what you like, and what you don't.

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Posted by Scott Martin at January 8, 2012 11:10 PM
Recent Comments

Neat to see what's involved in the professional coffee cupping scene.

Any idea if existing "wheels" exist for teas as well? I'd be curious to see the levels of complexity associated with all the various tea leave varietals.

Posted by: SH at January 12, 2012 10:48 AM
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