Cupping 101

Discuss flavors, brew temperatures, blending, and cupping notes.
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Joined: 17 years ago

#1: Post by psycho_supreme »

Hey guys,

I have recently got into home roasting. I really seem to have a hard time noticing flavor profiles of certain coffees (ie single origins).

The only thing I can really tell the difference with is different blends of espresso, when they're pulled ristretto, and even then its only if its a fantastic shot or not.

I'd like to think I have gained an excessive amount of knowledge in the last 5+ years of being around coffee and espresso and I'd like to take the next step and truly enjoy my home roasted single origins; as well I would like to develop an espresso blend of my own.

The problem? My "under-developed" palate.

Can someone point me in the right direction?

As a note, I'm using a bodum french press and a burr-grinder for my single origin coffees.

- Matt

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Joined: 18 years ago

#2: Post by Jasonian »

What sort of roasting are you doing?

Usually, the origin characteristics are most noticeable at a very light roast.

There are many many different ways to cup coffee.

Comparative cupping, cupping for defects, cupping for roast-finding, cupping for flavor, etc..

I have only ever done two comparative cuppings. One for roast profiles of the same coffee, and once for different coffees.

I usually only ever do cupping to find flavors and characteristics of any given coffee.

To do that, all you really need is the ability to slurp well, and a handy list of vocabulary. A little guidance never hurts either, so you might start cupping coffees you buy from roasting companies and cheat off of their description so you can get the feel for it.

You can find cupping score sheets all over the place. Coffeegeek has one, the SCAA has one, has one, and so on.

Whichever one you decide you prefer, use that one and stick with it.

It's a long journey, and you never really stop learning. Especially since coffee never really stops changing.

It's a good skill to have.
"Pro" coffee roaster. Ex barista trainer, competitor, consultant.

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#3: Post by another_jim »

I've written a short introduction to tasting coffee that covers the basics of tasting, rather than the mechanics of cupping. The guides can get you started; but you will need to practice, especially if you want to describe the coffees.

However, I need to say one thing very loudly: If you're spending so much effort on coffee as to be on this board, you know the difference between good and bad coffee perfectly well. If your palate really were dull, you'd be playing golf instead. I run into enthusiasts who think their palate is dull all the time, and they are invariably mistaken. The difficulty people have is in describing coffees, not rating which ones are good and which ones are bad.
Jim Schulman

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Joined: 18 years ago

#4: Post by Jasonian »

I have to agree with this.
"Pro" coffee roaster. Ex barista trainer, competitor, consultant.