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Various tastings are held around the world to determine the quality and aromas of different flavors. Wine tasting, whiskey tasting, and even olive oil tasting have become very popular nowadays. In fact, coffee is not much different from these flavors. This tasting process is called “coffee cupping” or “cupping“. The coffee tasting allows you to meet the unexpected aromas of different coffee beans and try delicious coffee flavors.
A scoring system between 0 and 100 is used in the coffee industry to measure and control the quality of coffee beans. So who gives these scores? This is where “Cupper” comes into play. Professional coffee tasters who know Cupper work for big coffee companies. More precisely, big coffee brands work with professional coffee tasters in order to offer better and quality coffee to their consumers in the world coffee market. Cupper sources, tests, and scores the world’s best coffee beans. Various award-winning competitions are held around the world every year to become the best cupper.
Is it possible to take small steps to become a cupper at home? Of course, it’s possible. You don’t need to be a professional coffee taster to know what you like and don’t like about a cup of coffee you brew, what suits your taste buds or what doesn’t. Of course, creating and developing a vocabulary about coffee in order to be able to describe the flavors of the coffee you sip is something that will take a little practice and a little time.
Sometimes you hear around you like “this coffee has a creamy flavor” or “this coffee also has a hazelnut flavor”. Don’t worry, as you practice tasting at home and do some research to improve your vocabulary on this subject, you will start to have some awareness, even if you are not like professionals. In order to improve your tasting skills at home, you can order beans grown in different parts of the world to your home. Tasting these beans after preparing them at home will be of great help in recognizing some flavor groups that you can improve over time.
Of course, some equipment is required to be able to taste coffee at home. Do not be afraid, these are not expensive, big and professional equipment. I list the necessary equipment for you below;
– Filter Grinder
– Digital Scale
– 250ml sized heat-resistant glasses. If you do not have glasses of this site, you can use a digital scale to avoid extra expense. Thanks to this scale, you can fill all glasses with the same volume of water. If you don’t have a digital scale, a scale cup may also work.
– Of course, the leading actor and indispensable part of this tasting are coffee beans.
You have two options here. Either you will try each coffee and discover its flavors, or you will prepare each different coffee bean in separate tasting cups and try it in order. My preference is option 2. Thus, after tasting, you can taste the next coffee and understand the difference better, without the aromas of the coffee you tasted before being erased from your memory. Let’s get ready together.
1- Pour 12 grams of your coffee into each glass. Grind the beans moderately and pour the coffee back into the cup.
Here I would like to give you a piece of advice that I think is very important. When making coffee at home, no one examines the grains of the coffee beans they buy one by one. But what if one or more of those coffee beans are defective while tasting? To prevent this, grind the coffee beans separately for each cup. If there are defective ones in the coffee beans, you have a chance to isolate this bean in at least one cup. Thus, the broken bean does not affect the coffees in other cups.
2- If you are going to taste different coffee beans, do the same for the other beans. However, before grinding your coffee beans, grind the next coffee beans to the size of a tablespoon. The purpose here is to clean your coffee grinder and prevent the aroma of the previous coffee beans from mixing with the aroma of the next coffee beans.
3- When all your cups are filled with ground coffee beans, smell and note them in order to compare their aromas.
4- After boiling the water, let it cool down to 95 degrees. Here, you can use a graduated kettle to set the temperature correctly, or a measuring device can make your job easier. Pour your water with adjusted temperature over the coffee and make sure that the coffee is completely saturated with water. Make sure you use the same amount of water for each glass. Some glasses should have less water and some should not be too much. Remember, everything is equal is one of the important factors in your evaluation of the coffee you will drink. Here you will need a measuring cup or precision balance to be able to set the size.
5- Leave your cups filled with coffee and boiled water to infuse for 3-4 minutes. Please be careful not to move or shake your glasses during this brewing period. During this time, you can smell the coffees you have left to brew and observe the differences in their aromas. As you will try different coffee beans, you will see that some have a strong aroma and some have a weaker aroma.
6- After 3-4 minutes, gently stir the surface of the brewed coffee three times with a spoon and collapse the floating coffee pieces onto the glass floor. I want to give important information here. In order not to mix the flavors, the spoon you will use in each glass should be different if possible. Or if you are going to use a single spoon, wash the spoon with hot water and dry it before mixing the other glass and use it as such. After mixing your coffees, observe the aromas again and check again if there is a change in the properties of the flavors you tested in step 5.
7- For your coffee in which all the crusts are broken while mixing, this time with the help of two spoons, scrape the floating coffee foams and floating coffee particles from the glass. Do not forget to rinse your spoon with hot water every time you do this.
8- When your coffee is cold enough to drink, dip your spoon and take a sip. This one sip helps the aromas of coffee spread to your olfactory system and to your palate. In addition to the taste of coffee, the feeling it leaves on your palate is also very important. Does it have a creamy feel or is it soft rough, dry, or fine? How do you think it tastes? Do you remember a feeling in the coffees you tasted before? Can you distinguish any fruity flavors or spice aromas? Can you distinguish different flavors such as hazelnut or chocolate flavor? Observe.
9- Repeat the same tasting process between your other coffee cups using different beans and try to distinguish what differences they have. As your coffee cools, look at the flavors again and take notes to distinguish the coffees you taste. Try to distinguish the flavors it leaves on your palate.
If you make such tastings using different coffee beans at home, you will begin to become familiar with the differences in the beans over time.