Coffee Flavours and Cupping


You might have heard the term "Cupping" when referring to tasting coffee. Before a coffee buyer decides on which coffees to purchase, they would normally cup and taste coffees at the origin.
The daily ritual for a coffee roaster would be to cup coffees in the morning and / or at the end of their day.
Cupping is the practice of evaluating and comparing the flavors and aromas of coffee before and after roasting.
There is no textbook way of cupping but it mostly involves smelling the coffee and aggressively slurping the coffee so it splashes onto the roof of your mouth and falls to the back of your tongue.

Why Cup Coffee?

There are different reasons for cupping, but mostly it is,
1. To make sure that the coffee contains no off putting or stale flavors and evaluate the quality, especially before deciding to buy up a whole lot.
2. To better understand the unique individual characteristics of the coffee so that a roaster can decide how the roast profile might look to highlight certain aspects/ characteristics  or disguise another.
3. To ensure consistency in roasts and blends.

Although this sounds like something best left to the professionals, you will be pleasantly surprised that it is actually simple to do at home and much easier to pick up different flavors and notes in coffee than you probably thought was possible.
We have experienced this countless times, people who come to cupping evenings are always delighted and surprised that they can identify and distinguish between single-origins right from the get-go.
Of course as your palate refines you will get better and better at it , but don’t be afraid to give it a try!
Coffee cupping is supposed to be social and fun , invite some friends over and start by cupping maybe 4 different single-origins and see what flavors and aromas you can identify.

Some notes on cupping:

Coffees that have a light roast profile make it much easier to pick up subtle flavors than darker roasts. Try single-origins rather than blends.

Flavour Wheel

The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) recently posted the brand new and updated Coffee Taster’s Flavor wheel identifying 110 Coffee Flavors and aromas.
This wheel is the product of dozens of professional sensory panelists, scientists, coffee buyers, and roasting companies collaborating via World Coffee Reasearch (WCR) and SCAA.
Have a look at it and see what Flavors you pick up at your next cupping evening! If you are looking for a higher resolution version , try this link
 SCAA Coffee Taster's Flavour Wheel

1 comment

  • there’s always something new when I taste different samples of coffee.
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