Art of Cupping

Cupping is the procedure used by our coffee masters to perform sensory evaluation of samples from our carefully selected coffee beans. The cupping room is our practical board room and where a lot of coffee tasting and decision making takes place.

The pursuit of the perfect cup of coffee isn’t just about the coffee origin, grade, rarity or about chasing the next glorified micro lot. Coffee is best judged through the art of cupping where we can assess the true qualities within the coffee and its potential to reach perfection.

The art of cupping relies upon the cupper’s senses, values and overall perceptions but at the core of the evaluation are the following criteria’s:

The coffee should smell truly amazing, both when it’s been freshly ground and when brewed. In a broad sense it could be chocolaty, nutty, fruity, spicy, citrusy, earthy or floral, but hopefully a finely tuned combination.

The coffee should taste naturally sweet without any additional sugar. This is due to the careful selection of only perfectly ripe coffee cherries and careful roasting. A little added sweetener if desired might really enhance Some of the flavors but should never be cloying.

It’s surprising how easy coffee is to taint. The idea of a “clean” coffee is one where all of the aromas and flavors are allowed to really shine, and where they are not masked by unwanted flavors and taste sensations.

The flavor is really a combination of aroma and taste, because as we drink the coffee our noses are monitoring the aromatic compounds, and our tongues perceive the taste sensations. The best flavor is that which is complex, with lots to keep our senses interested, but without bitterness, skewed tastes or unpleasant aromas.

The word “acidity” when used in the context of drinks, such as crisp, acidic white wines, often seems negative. In a way, acidity in coffee is similar to the use of chilies in cooking as both give a generous lift to the flavors involved when are present at just the right intensity and profile.

Some coffees have high acidity and these can be an acquired taste. Without any acidity, a coffee would taste flat and dull and wouldn’t contrast nicely with added sweetness as much as a well realized acidic coffee.

This is all about texture and mouth feel. A great coffee should be smooth, rounded and sensual. It could have a light or full body, but ideally it will feel silky and complement the coffee flavor.

Like a music band, you could have the very best individual elements but if they are all playing a different tune, then the effect is a disappointment, not a sensory treat. The same is with great coffee – the individual characteristics must combine and work well together in balanced and perfect harmony.

The final question is; does the coffee memory stay with me? Do I still have positive flavors in my mouth when I’ve put the cup down? If the answer is a resounding “yes”, then the coffee is one with a great aftertaste.

We are not asking much. all we actually want is a sweet, aromatic, complex, lively, smooth cup of coffee, with great balance and a satisfying aftertaste.