The newest trend for coffee connoisseurs
B O N V I VA N T T R AV E L . C A
B O N V I VA N T T R AV E L . C A
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.
What do you like?
The act of cupping might feel a little like a middle school
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.
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:
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.
Take the “Coffee Lover’s Tour” at
, 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
Not surprisingly, San Francisco is a coffee mecca.
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
Heading to Sydney? Try
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
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
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.
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