The place of origin, age and roast level determine how different types of coffee beans are going to taste in flavour. Cupping or coffee tasting is an international method of getting closer to the profile of any particular coffee. The tried and tested formula for cupping will reassure you that you’re understanding the properties of your cuppa in the intended fashion.
The first primary step is to choose your beans. While the choice is entirely up to you, a high-quality option will deliver the best. Once you’ve tasted from a spectrum of coffee varieties, you’ll be able to tell the familiar from the unfamiliar and vice-versa.
Next, you need to measure the appropriate amount of beans for your coffee grounds. The correct ratio is 1.63 grams of whole-beans to every ounce of water. Grind the coffee coarsely and once you’re done, sniff the ground mixture. Smell enough to notice cocoa notes or a spicy aroma.
Place the coarsely ground beans in a bowl or large mug and add near-boiling water to it in proportionally. Allow the mixture to sit for close to four minutes.
A thick layer or crust of the coffee will float atop. After the designated time lapses, break the crust gently and watch your coffee. The water alters the composition of the coffee. Look out for the changes and new characteristics of the beverage. You can now, scoop out the layer on the top, gently with a spoon.
If you’re going to press your coffee or filter it by any other means, you need to choose your method rightly. Most presses will leave behind a murky grit while paper filters can deprive the coffee of its qualities.
With the grounds out of the cup, notice the physical qualities of the coffee - check on the colour, specifically. Is the colour lighter or is the coffee look clear or is it a stronger black?
To be able to understand the flavour and qualities of the beverage, you need to slurp because that’s the best-recommended way to achieve taste. Make sure, the liquid covers the floor and roof your mouth to optimise the experience of tasting it. Understand where in your mouth do you get a hint of its taste, does the body of the liquid seem heavy or light? Do you taste acidic, sweet, spicy or earthy overtones? You could take notes, as you taste the coffee. Professional coppers would use a grading scale to rate the characteristics of the coffee. It is a great way to keep notes of what you liked in the coffee, why did you like it and how does it compare to some of the other coffees you’ve tasted.
Isn’t tasting different varieties of a beverage plain fun? Each time you can try a different variant, a humble or OTT version. Its unique characteristics will surprise you and often you’d have to try one again to get to know it better. The more you enjoy the experience, the more you’ll be able to appreciate the beverage and elevate your experience the next time around. Let’s try practising being a cupper, shall we?