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Cupping:

The newest trend for coffee connoisseurs

BY

NICK KEUKENMEESTER

FALL/WINTER

2018 •

B O N V I VA N T T R AV E L . C A

17

16

B O N V I VA N T T R AV E L . C A

FALL/WINTER 2018

lightest. These roasts show a fresh and grassy character and

emphasize the bean’s original taste. The darkest is the Italian

Roast, which is like a well done steak. It offers burnt notes

and greatly reduced acidity. The roast dominates the coffee at

this level. New England and the Medium City roast tend to

be preferred by baristas to show the coffee’s character.

Quality:

What do you like?

HOW?

The act of cupping might feel a little like a middle school

science experiment.

If you have examples of the pre-roasted beans in front of

you, give them a smell to ensure there are no unpleasant or

‘off’ aromas. Then, do the same with the roasted beans. A

third aroma assessment is made once the beans are grounded.

Take equal portions of each of the beans you wish to

assess (two heaped teaspoons is great) and put them in

cups of equivalent size. Seven ounces is normal.

Fill the cups to the rim with water just below boiling

point – about 96 degrees Celsius.

After four minutes, a crust will develop on the top of the

coffee. Carefully skim this off with two spoons by pulling the

crust towards you over the lip of the cup. Try to capture the

grounds in the spoons and be sure to rinse the spoons

between each cup to ensure you don’t cross-contaminate the

coffees. Now, it is time for another aroma test. You will want

to do this a few times to see how the coffee evolves in the cup.

WHY?

It is done at plantations and by brokers to determine

quality. It is done by baristas to work out the best way to

present coffees and which ones to buy. It is done by you

for fun and to work out what you like best. These are some

of the differences you will be assessing:

Origin:

The origin of the bean has a big effect on the flavour of the

final coffee. For example:

Take a clean spoon and sample each coffee. When

tasting, make loud slurping sounds. This is for two

reasons: Firstly, it aerates and aspirates the coffee for

the maximum flavour experience and allows you to

pick up on some subtle differences and characteristics.

Secondly, and just as importantly, it makes you sound

like you know what you are doing.

WHERE?

Take the “Coffee Lover’s Tour” at

Café Britt

, a coffee

plantation in Heredia, Costa Rica. This specific tour

incorporates a hands-on cupping session with a tour

of the plantation and roasters. Here, you will also find

out what the words ‘fair trade,’ ‘sustainable’ and

‘organic’ mean at the plantation and how they affect

flavour.

Not surprisingly, San Francisco is a coffee mecca.

Ritual Coffee

has taken roasting to an art form.

There, they offer regular cupping sessions to demystify

and mythologize coffee at the same time. They started

out in 2005 on Valencia Street in Mission, but now

they have half a dozen locations, all with regular

cupping sessions.

Heading to Sydney? Try

Roastville

in Marrickville,

where regular cupping classes take place on Sundays

and are open to anyone – but book ahead because

spaces are limited. Other coffee-related workshops are

available here, too, so check out the schedule or just

drop in for a cup.

Tanzania: Fruity and sweet

Ethiopia: Lemony and grassy

Costa Rica: Full-bodied and fruity

Colombia: Spicy and high in acid

Roast:

Roasting the beans changes the character. The degree of

roast refers to the internal temperature the bean achieves

during the process. Roasting degrees vary from Light to

Dark, with Cinnamon and New England being the two

I

f you consider coffee to be one of the five major food groups, you’re not alone.

But recently, you may notice this feel-good beverage being regarded for more than

its pick-me-up magic. In fact, much like oenophiles with wine, connoisseurs

are taking time to evaluate the notes and origins of coffee for the sake of understanding

it better, and as such, appreciating it. The trend? It’s called “cupping” – the science

and art of tasting coffee.

TRENDS

PRO TIP:

Great coffee gets better as it cools so you want to

give it a little time before tasting. Although you are steeping at 96

degrees, the ideal tasting temperature is 44 degrees. Firstly, cooler

coffee that has been steeped longer will be more expressive.

Secondly, you don’t want to ruin your palate by burning your mouth.

Ritual Coffee cupping sessions