Tasting and cupping coffee at home: A beginner's guide
Coffee lovers, have you ever wondered how to taste and appreciate coffee like a pro? Well, you're in luck because we're here to guide you through the process of tasting coffee at home.
First off, when we talk about tasting coffee, we're not just referring to sipping on your morning brew. Tasting coffee means being able to pick out certain characteristics such as aroma, acidity, sweetness, body, and aftertaste. These characteristics can change depending on the brewing method and temperature. Changing these variables make brewing coffee an exciting and ever-changing experience.
Here's a breakdown of the 5 characteristics of coffee tasting:
Aroma: The smell of your coffee is a crucial aspect of the tasting experience. There are two moments to note the aroma - the dry aroma or fragrance when you grind the coffee, and the wet aroma once you add water.
Acidity: Often misunderstood, acidity is what gives coffee its bright, clean, or crisp taste. It's essential to contrast the sweetness of a coffee, just like lemonade.
Sweetness: The sweetness of coffee comes from the sugar content of the coffee cherry and varies depending on the processing method and caramelization during roasting. The sweetness can range from fresh fruit to maple syrup.
Body (or mouthfeel): The texture of the liquid in your mouth can vary between different cups of coffee. Compare the body between skim milk and heavy cream to get an idea of the variation.
Aftertaste: The taste that lingers in your mouth after sipping on your coffee is also crucial to the tasting experience. Is it pleasant or unpleasant? Sweet or savoury?
Learning how to taste and cup coffee is an exciting and worthwhile journey. With practice, you'll be able to pick out flavours and tasting notes in your everyday cup like a pro. So, next time you brew a cup of coffee, or swing by the shop, read the tasting notes and start to notice the subtle tasting notes, the aroma, acidity, sweetness, body, and aftertaste.
* If you want to see how we set up a cupping, Lissette walks us through how to set up and taste a cupping in this video *
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