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Cupping: To Taste Coffee on a Professional Level

Aug 10, 2008
Imagine your profession as a ?cupper.? Yes, cupping does exist. In fact, professional coffee tasters enjoy the profession as an addition to judging contests, coffee buying and writing reviews, among other coffee-related tasks. But, sitting with several cups of Moonson Mysore coffee among other delicious flavors is a pleasure that can be experienced by anyone, not limited to only masterly cuppers.

A ?cupper? tastes and smells coffees for their flavor, body, aroma and acidity among many other attributes. A simple arrangement can help replicate the professional setting at home.

Be sure to have plenty of filtered water, as even the highest quality grounds can be spoiled with less-than-quality water. Water can have a stale taste to it when it has absorbed odors and been tainted with unpleasant tasting minerals such as sulfur or even mildew from the pipes. Avoid softened or distilled water also since it retains too much of the salts used to soften the water. Just stick with fresh, filtered water for the best taste and cupping experience.

It is useful to have a tray that can hold about a dozen small cups or cupping bowls, as well as a variety of measuring spoons or scoops. Of course, do not forget the coffee itself.

Begin boiling the water, and then grind the beans using a burr grinder set to different settings based upon the number of trials to take place. The fineness of the grind makes a significant difference in the final cup of coffee.

Prepare the coffee but allow samples to steep for several minutes. Generally, you will want two tablespoons of coffee per six fluid ounces of water, but adjust these measurements as you experiment. The water should stay around 200 degrees Fahrenheit, but the temperature can also be adjusted as you experiment with different combinations.

Now, filter the coffee or let it settle for a moment after which you can spoon out a taste and then smell. Enjoy the aroma for a moment, then taste the coffee letting it run over the tongue. Hold the taste for just a few seconds, and then spit the coffee into a nearby container.

You should now set back and think about that particular coffee?s profile. Did it have a woody taste and smell, or was it peppery or floral in flavor and character? It can be amazing how many different varieties of coffee there are, but a little knowledge of the origin of coffee grounds and beans should lessen any surprise considering the array of soil, preparation methods and climates.

Try coffees from different countries. For instance, you will notice that Kenyan AA is a rougher, darker coffee than Columbian which is more floral, whereas the Yemen Mocha is completely different from both offering the cupper a winey taste.

Try some of the different roasts which vary from very dark to light. Or, alter the grind from very fine to rough. Changing the grind or the roast in the same bean can make a big difference in the final coffee taste and texture. Some common attributes applied to a coffee?s profile refer to the acid (tart, somewhat dry), aroma (fruity, floral or herb-like), bitter, body, nuttiness, or sharpness.
About the Author
Vince Paxton routinely publishes summaries on subjects related to single cup coffee maker. On his site you can discover his abstracts on single cup coffee maker and single serve coffee maker.
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