Art of Tasting

Tasting or Cupping can commence after the freshly roasted coffee has rested least 8 to 24 hours. This permits the proper development of aromas.

Cuppers discern whether the flavor, body, acidity and aroma of the coffee is pleasant, or unpleasant. There four criteria used to judge and describe coffee:

Acidity–is a desirable characteristic in coffee.  It is the sensation of dryness the coffee produces under the edges of your tongue and on the back of your palate. The role acidity plays in coffee is similar to the role it plays in the flavor of wine. It provides a sharp, bright, vibrant quality. Without sufficient acidity, the coffee will tend to taste flat. Acidity should not be confused with sour, which is an unpleasant, negative flavor characteristic.

Aroma–is a sensation which is difficult to separate from flavor.  Without our sense of smell, our only taste sensations would be: sweet, sour, salty, and bitter.  Aroma characterizes flavors we discern on our palates. Subtle nuances, such as floral or winey characteristics are derived from the aroma of brewed coffee.

Body–is the consistence or weight of coffee in your mouth.  It is the viscosity, heaviness, thickness, or richness that is perceived on the tongue. A good example of body would be the feeling of whole milk in your mouth, compared to water. The perception coffee body is related to oils and solids extracted during brewing. Typically, Indonesian coffees will possess greater body than South and Central American coffees.  A good way to compare the level of body among several coffees is to add an equal amount of milk to each. Coffees with a heavier body will maintain more of their flavor when diluted.

Flavor–is the overall perception of the coffee in your mouth.  Acidity, aroma, and body are all components of flavor.  It is the balance and homogenization of these senses that create your overall perception of flavor.