Coffee cupping, or otherwise known as coffee tasting, is the art of observing the tastes and aromas of brewed coffee. It is a professional practice done by coffee roasters or by professionals known as “Master Tasters” but can be done by practically anyone with an interest in learning more about their coffee.
Why do we cup?
We cup coffees to understand their basic tastes. This can help us understand where different coffees could be slotted into blends not only for this brewing method but all other methods too. It also makes us look at coffee in its basic form and appreciate some of its finer points. As already said it’s a fantastic evaluation tool for something that changes from farm to farm, region to region, country to country and crop to crop.
When cupping coffee here is what you should look at:
Aroma: Describe the smell of the coffee before tasting, and rate the intensity of the aroma. Does it smell fresh or stale? Was the coffee over roasted or under roasted?
Acidity: The pleasing brightness or sharpness in the coffee. You do want some acidity in your coffee as it can give your coffee a little life to the taste of the coffee. On the other hand, if you have too much acidity your coffee can taste sour and unpleasant. Acidity can be intense or mild, round or edgy, elegant or wild, and everything in between. It is the high, thin notes, the dryness the coffee leaves at the back of your palate and under the edges of your tongue. It’s the pleasant tartness, snap, or twist, combined with an underlying sweetness; it is bright, dry, sharp, brisk, vibrant. (An acidy coffee is somewhat analogous to a dry wine.) A coffee that lacks acidity tastes flat. Acidity should be distinguished from sour or astringent.
Body/Mouthfeel: Body is a description of the fullness and richness of the feel of the coffee in your mouth. The sense of weight, tactile richness, thickness or heaviness that the coffee exerts in the mouth when you swish it around; how it coats the palate; its balance. Can be very difficult for beginning cuppers to identify – it is useful to think about the viscosity or thickness of the coffee, and concentrate on the degree to which the coffee has a physical presence. It also describes texture: oily, buttery, thin, etc.
Sweetness/Balance: The extent to which the sweetness provides balance and eases the finish. The degree of harmony between the acidic and sweet flavours.
Aftertaste/Finish: Describes the immediate sensation after the coffee is swallowed; the coffee’s finish in your mouth. Some coffees develop in the finish; they change in pleasurable ways. The ideal finish has enough endurance to carry the flavor for 10 seconds after swallowing, affirming with great clarity the principal flavour of the coffee, leaving a lingering, pleasant, non-bitter and non-sour aftertaste.
Overall Taste: What does it taste like? What does the coffee leave in your mouth when you have finished?Describe any directly identifiable fleeting flavour notes you may taste Aftertaste is a very important part of the cup
Personal Opinion: What do you think? Do you like it? Does it taste nice?
The next time you enjoy a cup of Calusa Coffee, go ahead and take a deep breath and let the aromas and flavors of the coffee fill your senses, and savor each sip so you can truly enjoy your cup of Calusa