Many of us drink a few cups of coffee daily. Caffeine has a lot of potential, which is a perfect medication against headaches, apathy and exhaustion.
But others consider coffee as a luxury good, an important part of the day, some kind of ritual. And obviously, when something begins to play an important role in our life, we strive to know more and more about it, we start to develop ourselves and look for the ideal varieties, brands, the adequate roasting and brewing methods giving us the biggest pleasure.
Of course this is a long process, we usually need a few years of consumation before we can establish a “conscious relation” with this beverage. We need to acquire the methods of pregustation that we may later apply our knowledge in practice.
Just as the understanding of wine, making out coffee also requires expertise, but no one should get frightened, since the basics are easy to pick up. You only need a good teacher and good coffees.
What is cupping?
Originally, cupping is about funcionality: the industry uses it for testing the coffee beans and quality control. The “cuppers” sniff, visually examine and taste the samples all day long in white coats. Besides this they also have the task of discovering new varieties and the best coffees in the market. Nowadays, more and more processing specialists and producers acquire the art of cupping, even in the plantations. But you do not have to be a professional if you want to become more familiar with your favorite drink.
How do we taste?
Basically, coffee tasting is not too complicated. You may also get it done at your home, you only have to know one simple thing: is it tasty or not? Your vocabulary for specifying the different components will evolve with time, you only have to be patient. It is certainly not a disadvantage if you already have some notions about the flavour of fruits and spices, because no matter how much you feel a certain flavour, you will still remain unable to identify it if you haven’t tasted cinnamon before.
What do you need for the cupping process? A 250 ml thermostable cup or glass and 12 grams of freshly roasted coffee that you have to sprinkle in the bottom of the cup. You may even use coffee capsules in the usual way -do not hurry, taste it slowly while focusing on the aromas- or just sprinkle it from the aluminium cup while following the same method explained above.
If you would like to taste more coffees, then you have to prepare separately every sample in the same way, but you have to pay attention and clean the coffee grinder before every usage. After you have sprinkled the grist in the cup, you have to first smell the aromas and make notes of your impressions. Then you have to pour 90-94 degree water (with a low mineral content) in the same amount in the cups. We have to leave the grounds soaking for 4 minutes. There will be a layer floating on the surface that we have to push down after whirling the coffee with a spoon. Now we can smell the aromas with our nose. We should wash down the spoon after each cup to avoid the mixture of the flavours.
We wait until the coffee gets cool and taste. Let’s dip the tasting spoon and suck the coffee into our mouth, thus facilitating the sensation of the scents. Now we can pay attention to the different nuances as the body, velvetiness, oiliness, dryness, creaminess and the different flavours. An aroma range may be useful to identify the flavours.
So, as we said before, coffee tasting is not too complicated. It may seem a little bit snobbish and strange, but presumably this activity will soon be as usual as wine tastings among companionships.