Invite a friend to their first cupping and the word is sure to invite a barrage of sexual innuendo. To many people, cupping is foreign but at Grouch, cupping is an everyday thing. Cupping allows us to experience a coffee at its barest. The process of cupping coffee can seem intimidating - a ritualistic practice reserved the devout barista; but at Grouch, we think specialty coffee (and its associated practices, like cupping) should be accessible to all coffee lovers. Cupping, or tasting different types of coffee side by side, is one of the best ways to develop your palette and to learn more about coffee flavour profiles. Think of it like a wine tasting, but with coffee.
SPIT OR SWALLOW?
We always cup according to standards set by the SCAA (Specialty Coffee Association of America) so that when we are tasting a number of coffees together, all variables are controlled and we are making judgements only on the coffee and not on the preparation method.
Once prepared, it's time to cup. Break the crust that's formed on top of the coffee by gently moving a spoon through it. Make sure to position your nose as close as possible to the coffee while breaking to take in that sweet, caressing aroma. Next, take a spoon and slurp as loudly and obnoxiously as you can; you want that coffee all over your mouth (even way up the back) to saturate your palette. Spitting the coffee out is generally acceptable (although we do indulge in swallowing the tastier ones).
LET THAT TASTE SINK IN
Perhaps the most intimidating thing about cupping is justifying what you are tasting to other 'cuppers' present. Every palette is unique, so there are no wrong answers when it comes to cupping. The best way to start distinguishing between coffee varietals is to do it a lot. Go with your gut reaction; whether the coffee reminds you of candy, mangoes or even cherry coke. When you cup coffee, take your time, breathe and start to break down the taste:
Aroma: What does it smell like? Does it have a strong aroma?
Flavour: Does this coffee taste ‘alive’ or is it more subdued?
Acidity: Does this coffee ‘sparkle’ on my tongue like when I drink coke?
Body: Does my tongue feel heavy or light?
Aftertaste: Can I still taste the coffee after I spit it out?
Most important of all, talk to the people around you - share & listen. Their palette is unique and is just as important as yours.
Cupping coffee isn’t complicated and it’s just another amazing sensory experience in our day to day at Grouch. On the 29th of August at 10:00am we will be opening our doors to the public to come and cup coffee with us. Let us know that you'll be joining us here firstname.lastname@example.org or join event on www.facebook.com/events/1604200803163480
We all remember our very first time and we promise to make your first time one to remember.