The name of this blog alone should already clue you in on one of my favorite things in life; coffee; I cannot live without it. Sometimes it takes a cup of joe or a lack of it to set the tone of my day. If I don’t get my dose of coffee, I usually get a headache.
But my love for coffee stayed in just the aspect of consumption. I don’t really possess an in-depth understanding of what it is about and the whole process of turning it into this brown liquid drink that I claim I cannot live without. Then I heard about an event called, Cupping with Entrep, a short session that involves talks about the process of making coffee and the actual cupping.
The first time I saw coffee cupping was in a Latin TV show. The characters went to a coffee plantation, sipped coffee, then spat out the liquid in another container. I was baffled but didn’t bother to find the reason behind the practice. The question was finally answered in this cupping event.
The event started with a little coffee 101, where we learned about producing coffee from crop to cup. It was not as simple as I thought and there are several conditions in the growing of coffee beans that affect the taste of the coffee.
❓What is coffee cupping?
Coffee cupping is a coffee-tasting session that involves smelling the aroma of freshly roasted coffee beans and drinking or tasting the coffee. The people who do this are called Q Graders or “cuppers;” specially trained to assess the quality of the coffee.
☕ What happens during the Cupping session?
Let me just share what happened with the one I attended. First, they laid out 20 coffee cups on the long table. All in all, we sampled 10 flavors of coffee beans. They gave us a checklist where we were supposed to write our evaluation of the coffee by describing its smell, feel, and taste.
We started by smelling the coffee ground; then water was poured onto it. The undissolved coffee ground formed a crust on the surface of the cup; again, we had to smell it and take note of what we picked up from the aroma.
Next is the tasting part. Because we were sampling several coffee flavors, we had a choice to spit out the coffee after tasting them. This was when I remembered that scene from the telenovela that I mentioned earlier. One cupper said that we are not required to drink coffee if we don’t want to. The point of the cupping is just to taste and evaluate the coffee.
I picked a spoon and started sipping the coffee when I heard some loud slurping sound. I turned to see the experienced cuppers slurping the coffee swiftly and noisily that I had to ask one of them why they were doing that. She said that you have to spread out the coffee over the palate to the back of your throat, to fully capture the taste of the coffee. Apparently, the most effective way of doing it is through slurping.
I went on to try it and ended up choking (lol). I guess this takes practice. I detected some fruity and nutty notes, but I won’t go into details because I simply can’t. It’s too early in the game for me to know exactly how to differentiate the smell and the taste of the coffee from one another, and even the cuppers said that it takes some practice and lots of exposure to coffee cupping to be good at this.
I stopped taking notes because only a few stood out for me; the others tasted or smelled pretty much the same. If I went on writing my assessment, then I would only be pretending.
It doesn’t mean that I don’t want to do this; in fact, it fueled my desire to really learn about this industry. I want to be an expert in cupping.
During the event, I got inspired by one of the cuppers, Tere Domine, head roaster of Kalsada. Her knowledge about coffee is so extensive that I was in awe as I listened to her story.
Then I realized that I wanted to go venture on some sort of a coffee tour. I want to know about coffee, go to a coffee farm, experience coffee picking, talk with the farmers, and really understand what the coffee industry is all about. I want to smell the coffee ground and be able to tell if it’s Arabica or Robusta. I want to know by the taste if the coffee was grown at high or low altitudes. I want to tell by the feel of it if it was dried, washed, or honeyed.
I am happy that through Cupping with Entreps I have taken the first step to gain a much deeper appreciation of this aromatic brown liquid that completes my every morning. And I’m excited to continue the journey.
ℹ️ Infographic: 15 steps to coffee from bean to cup
The cupping event is part of a long and complicated bean-to-cup process. If we’re going to the nitty gritty of things, it involves 15 steps. Luckily, somebody reached out to me to share an infographic he created that shows these 15 steps.
Isn’t it amazing? Don’t tell me you’re not impressed.
Author’s note: Thomas designed this amazing infographic about How Coffee Is Made. When he’s not triggering the smoke alarm while roasting coffee at home he usually writes new coffee posts on his blog coffeeble.com.
☕ Do you want me to review any coffee shops? Leave your suggestion in the comment box below, and I’ll make time to check it out. 💕