WHY IS THE COFFEE CUPPING METHOD SO IMPORTANT?
Coffee has an infinite variety of flavors and these flavors are determined in the coffee world using the "coffee cupping" method (cupp means cup in English). With it, producers and buyers around the world taste coffee to check its quality and aromas. During cupping, the coffee is evaluated according to purity, sweetness, acidity, mouthfeel and aftertaste.
How do we taste coffee notes with the cupping method?
In accordance with the protocol for preparing coffee for cupping, freshly roasted and ground coffee beans are poured directly into the a cup or several of them (if it is different coffees) pour hot water and let it stand for 3 to 5 minutes. Smell the coffee, then mix it and remove the crust that forms on the surface. We smell again, then we start tasting - the coffee must cool down a little beforehand to avoid burning the tongue and to allow the flavors to express themselves. We use two spoons, one goes into the cup and the other into the mouth. Professional tasters taste coffee from a spoon by "scraping" to bring out the aromas as much as possible, then spit the coffee out (similar to sommeliers when tasting wine).
The cupping method is used by professionals in the coffee industry as well as coffee lovers. The first is because it is excellent for quality control, and it also makes it easier for sellers and buyers of green coffee to decide which coffee to choose and offer to their guests. Others, because by tasting they learn to recognize the differences between the origin and variety of coffee and improve their knowledge about coffee. While tasting and perceiving flavor can be practiced, becoming a master is another matter entirely.
In our Mariposa roastery, we sample approximately 50 to 100 cups of coffee per month, thereby ensuring that they are all roasted to a high standard. We also taste samples from farms that produce coffee to find the best coffees, which we then add to our offer.
Interestingly, when we do sensory classes and organize open cupping events, people are almost always amazed by the experience. At first they think they won't be able to tell the difference between the coffees, then they discover how many different flavors it can have.
As with wine, it is possible to find an endless range of notes in aromas and flavors with coffee, as each harvest is different. This is directly influenced by weather and altitude, but the most important role is played by soil and variety. After harvesting the coffee cherries, the taste of the coffee is affected by processing, transport, roasting, grinding, brewing equipment and water quality.
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