Coffee Cupping: Tasting Coffee like a Pro

Cardiff Coffee was lucky enough to be invited to participate in a ‘coffee cupping’.

The 8am start on a Saturday morning was hard but the prospect of experiencing a wide array of good coffee made getting up a lot easier.

Will (@TheCaffeineKid) took his time to hold this seminar at Waterloo Garden Teahouse (which we reviewed a while ago) and patiently answered all our questions. Many thanks!

If you don’t know what coffee cupping is exactly, it is done to taste the different flavours, compare attributes and check the quality of beans.

So, how does it work?

Well, you get whole coffee beans (we had five different varieties that day), measure exactly 12g/cup and grind them.

You take four cups per coffee, add hot water and let it brew for four minutes. Then you go around the table,  smell it and leave it for another eight minutes.

After the wait you break the surface and stir and smell the freshly brewed coffee.

There’s certainly nothing better than fresh coffee in the morning!

You then take the top off the surface and sip each coffee at a time with a spoon. You then clean your spoon before you move on to the next cup.

Beyond taste and flavour, the expert taster has to be on the lookout for defects, which is where the quality control aspect of the exercise comes in.

Defects are bad beans that you can smell and taste in your cup (it tastes rather disgusting). One defect bean is enough to make your coffee taste like a rotten potato and trust me you don’t want to taste anything like it!

If a supplier of coffee has too many defect beans in their bags then distributers usually refuse to do business when them.

We tasted coffee from Brazil, Rwanda, Bolivia… and I have to say my favourite was one from Rwanda.

Supposedly Rwanda grows the best coffee in the world but unfortunately their coffee often comes with many defects. Can you image tasting different coffees every day? Sounds like a dream job…

Anyway, we enjoyed the experience and might repeat it at home with different coffees to improve our tasting skills 🙂

Many thanks again to Kasim at Waterloo Gardens Teahouse and Will for giving us this great opportunity! You can buy great coffee at Will’s coffee stall at the Riverside Market every Sunday!

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