Have you ever been told a coffee has ‘berry undertones’, only to take a sip and find that it actually tastes like… well, coffee? Don’t be disheartened and don’t lose faith in third-wave coffee – flavour descriptions really are more than just marketing ploys. Like wine, coffee can develop a completely different taste depending on its origin and the production process it goes through. And with practice, you can identify all sorts of complex flavours.
Coffee cupping is professional tasting and sniffing. Its how roasters and buyers get to know and measure every batch of coffee. The process is identical all over the world, whether on a farm in Colombia or in an inner-suburban roasting room.
- Each taste has a cup or bowl with 150-200ml capacity, 10g of ground coffee and 92 degree water that’s poured over the coffee and allowed to stand for 5 minutes, forming a crust.
- Tasters break the crust, scrape off the grounds from the surface and allow to stand for another 5 minutes.
- Tasting is achieved by deeply sniffing and slurping the coffee so it spreads to the back of the tongue.