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Thread: How do you cup your coffee poll

  1. #1
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    How do you cup your coffee poll

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Im curious to know how and if CSers cup their coffee. *

    Care to take part in the poll?

  2. #2
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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll

    Kinda depends what Im drinking. Usually Traditional style though. If its a blend, usually for espresso, cupped as espresso.

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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll

    I tried to find this out a while ago without much sucess:

    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1228279080

  4. #4
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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll

    Im trying to relearn to cup, given that I have discovered, courtesy of Mr Lingle, that I was using a lot of descriptors incorrectly. (For example, soft - I was using it as delicate).

    But then I had to put Lingle away cos Im now three weeks behind on uni ::) For some reason cupping was just so much more interesting to me than botany. ;D

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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll


    Interesting you should mention Lingle Michelle, as it was probably he that prompted the poll.

    FWIW, I think promoting a universal language is a great idea, but when it comes to cupping, I challenge the value in adhering to the traditional method. For example, I might cup a coffee that I think is a joy, only to find it becomes totally overwhelmed with the addition of milk.

    Until I can be convinced otherwise I cup using 2, 3, 4 and 5. And Id probably ask any customer who started slurping and spitting in my shop to leave! ;D


  6. #6
    mwatt
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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll

    Quote Originally Posted by 4254515140424E47474444210 link=1239003952/4#4 date=1239006602

    FWIW, I think promoting a universal language is a great idea, but when it comes to cupping, I challenge the value in adhering to the traditional method. *For example, I might cup a coffee that I think is a joy, only to find it becomes totally overwhelmed with the addition of milk.
    Hmm, a fair point I guess. But when theres like infinity sacks of coffee and youre trying to decide which beans to buy, and you have only a few grams to sample, how else do you decide which to purchase?

    I was actually asking a roaster not long ago how she decides which of the stellar coffees on a cupping table will translate to great espresso, given thats what the bulk of coffee consumed in Australia is.

    Also, its surely the most obvious method for head to head comparisons yes? As far as being able to control as many variables as possible. I mean even if you hooked up a couple of identical machines and identical grinders and got a few gun baristi to pull the shots, theres going to be variables at play still.

    For myself, I cup to learn. Im not a professional anything, and so I cup to develop my palate, and cos its FUN! Also, the vast bulk of the coffee I consume these days is pourover or syphon brewed, so how it translates with milk or as espresso isnt so much a concern.

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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll

    Have absolutely no idea, have never cupped and wouldnt know where to start but i am sure the learning experience would be very interesting.

    Mal

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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll

    Hi Mal,

    worth the trip into BBB in the city on a Saturday morning if you get the chance for a cupping session. Easy going and low stress environment plus you get to drink some great coffee :)

    Apart from that I dont tend to cup my roasts at home, but any new varietals go into the Syphon first and drink the mug slowly as it cools. Due to only roasting 250g lots cupping batches seems a bit of a waste of beans?

    So put me down as cupping by Syphon I guess.

  9. #9
    Senior Member greenman's Avatar
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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll

    I usually pull an espresso shot and top up with hot water, I taste it until it goes cold, noting the change in taste as it cools down, this is a simple quick way for me to test my roasts, time is always a factor in a busy work schedule but this way I get a fair idea how my roasts are performing.
    I have been attending cupping sessions at local cafes and roasters and trying to learn proper cupping techniques and develop my palate.
    I tell my wife that work is getting in the way of my coffee obsession but it falls on deaf ears!! :-/

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    Senior Member redzone121's Avatar
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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll

    Espresso is how i like to get the general feel of a coffee (dont know if that makes sense) The syphon really gives me a lot more and yes as it cools is really interesting how it changes flavor. Cupping I have never done but would like to try sometime.

    CB

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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll

    I have done some cupping at Veneziano and will go to the next one when the date is set

    Its funny how a group of people try to name a particular flavour or smell
    One was it smells like wet dog :) another was a boilermaker plunging hot steel in water it smells like the steam it gives off ::)
    I wont repeat what AM said about the Sumatra Blue Batak :-X

    My taste buds are not what they used to be but I tend favour the chocolate tones in coffee

    KK


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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll

    Quote Originally Posted by 60444D4D4E4E7460445846442B0 link=1239003952/10#10 date=1239020828
    I have done some cupping at Veneziano and will go to the next one when the date is set

    Its funny how a group of people try to name a particular flavour or smell
    One was it smells like wet dog *:) another was a boilermaker plunging hot steel in water it smells like the steam it gives off *::)
    I wont repeat what AM said about the Sumatra Blue Batak *:-X

    My taste buds are not what they used to be but I tend favour the chocolate tones in coffee

    KK

    KK I can not quite remember... But I do recall every one looking at me with distaste *;D

    Oh yea thats right ........ *a raw sewage pump / outlet... * Earthy and composting *;)

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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll

    Quote Originally Posted by 544E584D4D390 link=1239003952/5#5 date=1239007150
    But when theres like infinity sacks of coffee and youre trying to decide which beans to buy, and you have only a few grams to sample, how else do you decide which to purchase?
    No argument there. *I was more interested in whether people cup and how they do it *after* theyve purchased raw beans.

    Quote Originally Posted by 544E584D4D390 link=1239003952/5#5 date=1239007150
    Also, its surely the most obvious method for head to head comparisons yes? As far as being able to control as many variables as possible.
    Perhaps true, though at a group cupping there could be plenty of variables too - eg. which sample was ground first and last?; is the water temp identical for each cup?; do we measure the water to the ml?

    .
    Quote Originally Posted by 544E584D4D390 link=1239003952/5#5 date=1239007150
    For myself, I cup to learn.
    Ah, I like that. *So what have you learned?

    Quote Originally Posted by 544E584D4D390 link=1239003952/5#5 date=1239007150
    I cup to develop my palate
    I cup to get an idea of how it can improve and what it will taste like for my customers.

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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll

    Cant say that I know what Im doing, but I drink most of my coffees as double ristretto soy lattes so I dont see any point in trying them any other way. I might not have the best palate either, but I am able to pick out some of the undertones of the coffee. I noticed toffee with the Yemen Bani Ismail, the dark chocolate of the Harrar, and easter buns on the Mocha Java decaf (which Andy said was more of a descriptor of fruit and spice, but the first thought I had was Easter buns!). I think this is why Im not a big fan of blends either. I cant pick out the flavours and it just tastes like coffee, no interesting other flavours to compliment it. well thats my second crack for today...

  15. #15
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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll

    Oh man, I totally just wrote an essay and lost it. Bah!

    Ok. Take two.

    As Ive said, Im not an industry professional. Anything I do with coffee is purely for my own education, entertainment and enjoyment. Heck, Im even doing Wine Science at uni in the hope that itll improve my palate ::) When I grow up I want to go to Coffee Lab and do the SCAA Cupping Course and Q Graders Exam. Whether or not I have the palate or skill to do so remains to be seen. :-?

    For me, cupping is the most exciting thing I do with coffee. Some of us here are total gear-heads, some are espresso über-geeks, some are obsessed with perfecting their latté art, some obsessively document every roast etc. For me, there is nothing as exciting as standing in front of a table, lined with white bowls, waiting for four minutes to be up so I can push my spoon through that brown crusty goodness. Its coffee at its rawest (well, ok, not literally), stripped of all the frills and being judged only on smell and taste - of whats actually there in the cup. Seriously, I love it, and I wish I was allowed to do it more often.

    Den, you said "I think promoting a universal language is a great idea, but when it comes to cupping, I challenge the value in adhering to the traditional method."

    For professionals? Or amongst home baristi? It makes sense to me that the cupping protocols have been developed so that they can be kept identical anywhere in the world. So professional cuppers, buyers, roasters, whoever, know what theyre buying etc. A common language is only possibly if everyones looking at the same thing in the same way, surely? Even Lingles proposed terminology is only useful if lots of people use it. Its not as though its self-evident. Acidy coffees are not usually high in acidity. What the?! Its essentially a code. A code to try and communicate aroma and taste, which is really hard to do, given we all have such diverse sensory memories!

    Do home baristi need to cup using SCAA protocols? Of course not. Someone else has already done the leg work of sourcing great beans, so roast em, drink em, enjoy em. Id guess that in most peoples cases, thats going to result in an espresso-based beverage. I dont often cup espresso-roasts. I havent yet got my head around tasting much beyond roasty in the darker roasts people tend to prefer for espresso. If Ive got beans roasted for espresso, I pull them as espresso. I will play around with dose and grind and shot length to see what I can find.

    Also, when I cup at home, I rarely score. I really want to understand how to, but at the moment, scoring the acidity of a coffee as a 4 would be purely arbitrary. I dont yet have the palate, sensory memory or experience to meaningfully apply such a score. Im trying to learn the Lingle vocab, because it occurs to me that when I read other peoples notes, they rarely mean much to me, and so the chances are, mine probably mean very little to anyone else.

    Im not entirely sure where this was all going ... ::)

    What have I learned cupping? Hmm. Ive learned that the roof of my mouth registers more than my tongue does. Ive learned that espresso is not the be all and end all of coffee. Ive started to build a sensory memory and vocabulary for describing what I taste and smell. Ive learned I want to one day get to play with coffee for a living. Ive learned about how a coffee changes as it cools and turns. Ive learned how not to choke when I slurp.

    I still havent learned that I have ridiculously bad spatial awareness and every stinking time I end up putting my nose way too close to the bowl and burning it ;D

    I took a few coffee-liking friends to a cupping session recently, and for a few of them, it was a total Oh, I get this! I can taste the difference between this Sidamo and this Rodomunho. That was cool.



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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll

    Quote Originally Posted by 243E283D3D490 link=1239003952/14#14 date=1239076699
    Oh man, I totally just wrote an essay and lost it. Bah!
    If you know you are going to write a long post it pays to use MSWord or similar so that the auto-save at least will back up for you if you forget to.

    Bulletin Boards are not the place for long drafts.

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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll

    I mostly use a small set of plungers but have used my Syphon a few times as well. Plungers are good for a quick and easy session though...

    Mal.

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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll

    Quote Originally Posted by 5046434352505C55555656330 link=1239003952/4#4 date=1239006602
    promoting a universal language is a great idea
    I know a very well qualified Systemic Functional Linguist that is sick of academia and just wants to finish her PhD and then find something else to do. Shes pretty hot too, IMO .... maybe I should set her on the task of working through a common language of descriptors? Better get her a copy of the Cuppers Handbook to get her started ...

    As most of you know, Ive been roasting for all of about a month now. So far, Im cupping by espresso as that is what I drink the most. As I learn more though and find other resources to train my palate I fully expect I will try the more traditional method as well. For now, Im just trying to make sure that the beans I do roast are drinkable as espresso.


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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll

    Quote Originally Posted by 0A0318010A070F620 link=1239003952/17#17 date=1245891398
    Better get her a copy of the Cuppers Handbook
    Honestly, Id put this way down on the list of coffee-related purchasing priorities. The good thing about now owning a copy is that I understand why it was such a flop at trying to achieve its intended outcome.


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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll

    Quote Originally Posted by 7761646475777B72727171140 link=1239003952/18#18 date=1245893474
    Honestly, Id put this way down on the list of coffee-related purchasing priorities.The good thing about now owning a copy is that I understand why it was such a flop at trying to achieve its intended outcome.
    Really? Whats so disappointing about it? Ive not read it, but was thinking of buying it.

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    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll

    Quote Originally Posted by 494B474F4F41465B280 link=1239003952/19#19 date=1245894121
    Quote Originally Posted by 7761646475777B72727171140 link=1239003952/18#18 date=1245893474
    Honestly, Id put this way down on the list of coffee-related purchasing priorities.The good thing about now owning a copy is that I understand why it was such a flop at trying to achieve its intended outcome.
    Really? Whats so disappointing about it? Ive not read it, but was thinking of buying it.
    a) Its about 30 years old and written in the style of the times. Texts, or books that try to be texts, really dont have to be as dry and boring as this one;
    b) It reads with both technical and non-technical explanations and terminology; in other words, its confused;
    c) I dont really care how wanky authors, their proteges, or the would be coffee glitterati drink or describe coffee - Im quite happy for my coffee not to taste like tomato sauce, sapote, or gooseberries.



  22. #22
    mwatt
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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll

    Quote Originally Posted by 676E756C676A620F0 link=1239003952/17#17 date=1245891398
    .... maybe I should set her on the task of working through a common language of descriptors? Better get her a copy of the Cuppers Handbook to get her started ...
    Haha, I read a novel about someone doing just that recently; its called The Various Flavours of Coffee, by Anthony Capella; Anne put me on to it.

    And my $0.02 - I think The Coffee Cuppers Handbook is a great resource, Ive found it pretty useful (and interesting) to be honest.

    Quote Originally Posted by 4B6A6161667C0F0 link=1239003952/20#20 date=1245895991
    c) I dont really care how wanky authors, their proteges, or the would be coffee glitterati drink or describe coffee - Im quite happy for my coffee not to taste like tomato sauce, sapote, or gooseberries.
    Whys that? I was thinking about this the other day: just because theyre not flavours one expects from "coffee" doesnt make the coffee bad.

    I smelled dry grounds not so long ago that smelled like onion, to the point my eyes actually started watering just a bit. On the same day I cupped a coffee that tasted quite distinctly of tomato juice. I also had a particular IMV pourover a while back that quite clearly had eucalypt aromatics.

    "Sweaty saddle" can be a desirably earthy characteristic in a wine. It sounds gross; but why? Theres not actually leather or sweat in the wine, so why do we think its disgusting? I think its good to challenge our assumptions, and why we find a particular characteristic desirable or repugnant.

    So, safe in the knowledge that the only thing in the cup is ground coffee; bring on the tomato sauce, sapote and/or gooseberries! Dont you find that exciting? That the insane number of flavour compounds in coffee that make it such a gloriously complex brew mean we can detect such a myriad of flavours in it?!! My biggest frustration is that my palate is simply so unexposed to so many of the flavours this world offers!!!!

    Um, yeah, I like cupping ;D

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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll

    Quote Originally Posted by 617B6D78780C0 link=1239003952/21#21 date=1245926348
    Whys that?
    Simple Michelle. Because I think the overwhelming majority of people cant taste those nuances you describe (I happen to think you are an exception). I guess the other *thing* I have about cupping is that its a far, far, cry from how again, the vast majority of people consume and enjoy their coffee. So, I believe cupping descriptions can be and often are very misleading to the consumer.

    I take my coffee the way my customers drink it - espresso, piccolo, FW, cap, latte, etc. and yes, even with 2 sugars plus caramel syrup (shudder). Id prefer to know that chefs follow this procedure too. Sure you can try the condiments and go all the way back to the raw product if you like, but ultimately, the aroma, flavour, texture, etc. of the dish you serve is really whats important in my eyes.

    Im just saying cupping is one step, and a small one at that, in the whole process. And if one agrees with this argument, then one might also agree that cupping should not be extolled to such a degree whereby those that dont cup are belittled and frowned upon. Im definitely not saying youve done, or would ever do that, but I do know some that have. And you know what? I think they are just egotistical, self indulgent, small-minded individuals.

    Cheers!
    :)




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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll

    Garn Den....

    Tell us what you really think ;)

    Mal.

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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll

    Quote Originally Posted by 0825212D204C0 link=1239003952/23#23 date=1245938582
    Garn Den....

    Tell us what you really think ;)

    Mal.
    Do you think I was being too polite Mal? Im generally so shy....giggled like a schoolgirl! ;D


  26. #26
    mwatt
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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll

    Quote Originally Posted by 584E4B4B5A58545D5D5E5E3B0 link=1239003952/22#22 date=1245935192
    Im just saying cupping is one step, and a small one at that, in the whole process. *And if one agrees with this argument, then one might also agree that cupping should not be extolled to such a degree whereby those that dont cup are belittled and frowned upon. *Im definitely not saying youve done, or would ever do that, but I do know some that have. *And you know what? *I think they are just egotistical, self indulgent, small-minded individuals.
    Maybe some people are. I havent yet met anyone in the industry Id label as such. In fact, Im generally blown away by how friendly and genuine most people in the coffee world are. And some of those people are very passionate about cupping, because they see it as a brilliant opportunity to educate the general public and encourage them to broaden their horizons.

    Yes, cupping is a "step in the process" for professional roasters etc, but it can also be an end in itself, for anyone.

    I disagree that Im an exception, and with the conception that most people cant taste nuances. Ive been at a few cupping sessions where some of the people have never cupped before; Ive never heard a single person say "it all tastes the same" or "I cant tell the difference". Most people seem to be astonished that they CAN tell different coffees apart, are amazed at some of the aromas and flavours coffee can contain, and get really excited when they are able to pick out and name a characteristic theyre tasting.



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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll

    At the moment 23% of voters say they use traditional cupping methods. I presume all the voters are Coffee Snobs, and not representative of the general public.

    Thanks for your views Michelle. I dont want to start WWIII.

    I wonder if youve tried this little exercise? Have a cupping session with a few new punters. Give them a taste and a blank sheet of paper, then ask them to describe what they tasted on that blank sheet of paper.

    If the paper was blank at the start, I think (and know) its very much in doubt that it will have much on it at the end. But if we use the same process, but this time instead of a blank piece of paper, have one with say 10 boxes marked, with say, chocolate, pepper, etc., suddenly these people who are new to cupping will taste what youve prepared on the sheet beforehand.

    Its basic psych. Ive done it more than once. The results are always the same.

    Cheers!




  28. #28
    mwatt
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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll

    Quote Originally Posted by 687E7B7B6A68646D6D6E6E0B0 link=1239003952/26#26 date=1246012667
    Thanks for your views Michelle. *I dont want to start WWIII.
    We cant have a discussion without it becoming war? Trust me, I dont mind people disagreeing with me. *:)

    Yes, I agree with you regarding the power of suggestion. Give someone a bottle of wine, and chances are theyll taste what the label tells them they should.

    However, I have seen people whove never cupped before, with no prompting, pick out flavours Im also tasting (not that Im a standard of taste but anyway :P). Everyone (nearly) can taste! Its just that many people dont know how to verbalise what theyre tasting. Hence the usefulness of Lingle and the Nez du Café and all the other tools out there!

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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll

    Quote Originally Posted by 445E485D5D290 link=1239003952/27#27 date=1246015072
    not that Im a standard of taste
    Thats an interesting topic in itself. Your taste of tomato may be my plum! Well, I know that taste distinctions aren as varied as colour interpretations, but you get the idea. The Le Nez, I get. A person can match what they smell in the coffee to the kit, and say, ah ha, "leather". I dont think Lingle comes anywhere near achieving this.

  30. #30
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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll

    Quote Originally Posted by 382E2B2B3A38343D3D3E3E5B0 link=1239003952/22#22 date=1245935192
    I guess the other *thing* I have about cupping is that its a far, far, cry from how again, the vast majority of people consume and enjoy their coffee.So, I believe cupping descriptions can be and often are very misleading to the consumer.

    I take my coffee the way my customers drink it - espresso, piccolo, FW, cap, latte, etc. and yes, even with 2 sugars plus caramel syrup (shudder).Id prefer to know that chefs follow this procedure too.Sure you can try the condiments and go all the way back to the raw product if you like, but ultimately, the aroma, flavour, texture, etc. of the dish you serve is really whats important in my eyes.
    Loving the realness of these comments mate, makes perfect sense to me.
    On the other hand I must also have a decent crack at cupping too, starting this Wednesday at Coffee Supreme (Wellington) all welcome by the way *;D

  31. #31
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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll

    I have been attending cupping sessions at a cafe in the CBD, this week we tried 5 different Brazils, it was great being able to differentiate the different nuances from quite similar beans. Attending these sessions is gradually helping me to develop my palate and what to look for when I am cupping my roasts at home. Two were very sweet, nutty and mellow, two had more acidity with a hint of citrus while the fifth was a bit flat and one dimensional, the group managed to pick the differences so we got a gold star.
    I sampled an espresso (Rwandan/El Salvador) which had amazing body and rich cocoa/orange notes which lingered for ages.
    It was a highly caffeinated and enjoyable experience.

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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll

    I can understand both sides of this...discussion. Sometimes people just want to drink their darn coffee without having to look for "hints of dark chocolate giving way to cherry sweetness". But then I love exploring the coffee.

    Some people will always find it a bit of a wank though. As for whether the Lingle book is worth it or not, I guess it all comes down to how you enjoy coffee.

    Michelle, If Im ever up the central coast way, Itd be swell to cup some Ethiopian coffees with you. I hear theyre so hot right now ;D

    Den, If Im ever in the shire, Ill have a cap with two. :)

  33. #33
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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll

    Quote Originally Posted by 6F6D61696967607D0E0 link=1239003952/31#31 date=1246060037

    Michelle, If Im ever up the central coast way, Itd be swell to cup some Ethiopian coffees with you. I hear theyre so hot right now *;D
    ;D ;D So, so hot.

    Bring it! ... if we can find any amazing Ethiopians now >:( I heard the other day that all the Bagersh lots are goneskis, and with the new legislation etc., twill be very interesting to see what we will be drinking next ... thats not very on topic though ...


  34. #34
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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll

    Dennis, I think you are being a bit cynical of cupping. I can see where you are coming from with the whole how consumers drink coffee side of the equation, but surely as a roaster you can understand that we need to push the limits of consumer knowledge. Otherwise why not just roast a natural brazil and robusta blend because that is what they drink elsewhere?
    I think that especially as a roaster cupping is paramount to understanding your product. I cup every roast I do, always have, whether it is a new green sample or an espresso blend. It is just as important as keeping a roasting log. On Monday I roast 12 roasts of the same blend, as an espresso they all taste the same, and those that dont could be put down to inconsistancy of the barista. As a cupping I get 12 different cups, albeit minor differences it is because of these differences that I progress my craft. Now Im not saying that cupping is the last stop in roast evaluation but it should definately be the first. Try it for a few weeks and you might find a whole new chapter roasting begins.

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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll

    Dennis and Michelle, nice work - I think that the exchange between you two has teased out some great information.

    A few thoughts ... (Michelle, forgive me if I repeat some of what you have said; it may be necessary to explain the following) ...

    What do we mean by "cupping"?

    We need to be clear what were talking about when were talking about "cupping." *The word is used in three senses:

    1. as a synonym for "tasting" by any brewing method.
    2. *to refer to the method whereby coffee is ground, steeped in hot water in a cupping bowl, cracked, skimmed and slurped progressively as it cools. *
    3. to incorporate both the method in 2. and (a) multiple samples - 5 for SCAA purposes, 10 in certain firms and (b) recording results on a standardised score sheet. *

    The current trend amongst coffee roasteries seems to be to use the word in the second sense to describe an educational coffee tasting. *Unfortunately, though, the word is used in all three senses above and this can lend confusion to online discussions such as this. *In this post, I am going to use the word in the second and third sense above - hopefully it will be clear what I mean from the context.

    Advantages of the cupping brewing method

    Dennis, to address your point above I will also include some comparisons with espresso in brackets.

    *Logistics accommodate multiple samples

    You can grind all the coffee up at once at the same grind setting to have it ready to go, sniff through all of it, top it all up with water and go through a bunch of samples at once. *At Coffeelab, we cupped 30 bowls - 6 coffees x 5 samples - in a session pretty easily. *I dont have records to hand, but I remember that Ben, Nim and I got through 24 cups in the cup tasting competition in about 1 min 30 seconds - obviously that wasnt a proper evaluation of the coffees, but the point is that you can get through a lot of samples quickly. *Dormans, a Kenyan exporter, are reputed to cup 300 samples in one go. *If you get a copy of the book "Kahawa: Kenyas Black Gold," there is a photo of Jeremy Block and a few others going through about 60 cupping bowls, with more being prepared and perhaps even more off camera.

    (In comparison, espresso will require you to dial in the grind for each coffee. *Its often said that espresso has to be consumed very soon after being drunk, so its pretty easy to see that it is going to be much harder to compare six coffees head to head as espresso. *Add to this the problem that theres only so much espresso that a body can take and you can see that tasting five samples of six coffees is pretty much not going to happen.)

    Cupping multiple samples can be very important if you are cupping for defects, as some of them wont pop up in every cup. *Cupping five or ten bowls of the same natural processed coffee is a good illustration of this. *It would suck majorly to cup one bowl of some coffee that was a fruity bombshell only to discover that when you order a few bags, half of the coffee brewed from them tastes like vinegar.

    *Accommodates small sample sizes

    If you only have an 80g sample from your broker or importer, you will probably get enough roasted coffee to purge the grinder and cup five bowls.

    (Anyone who has tried to dial in a totally unknown espresso knows that 60g of roasted coffee doesnt give you much margin for error and you probably wont get multiple samples out of it.)

    *Cheap, easily accessible equipment

    All that you need is some standardised cups, a good grinder, a spoon and something to boil water. *This is particularly important for people travelling to origin - and as a small tangent, I seem to remember that this was why professional roasters first started experimenting with heat guns as roasters.

    (Espresso = expensive, but, to be fair, this isnt much of a point against espresso because most people who would cup would already have the equipment ... or they wouldnt be cupping for espresso and, hence, it wouldnt be an issue.)

    *Few variables = better repeatability

    The water temperature, grind size, weight, roast level, volume of water, etc. are all standard. *Really, the only thing that changes is the coffee.

    (For espresso, smaller changes in roast level might make a bigger difference, brew temperature varies between machines, baristas dose differently, etc, etc. *All of these variables must be questioned as potential sources of the flavour that you are getting in the cup.)

    *High tolerance for degassing time and accommodates short degassing times

    To be sure, generally cupping coffee sooner after roast will yield a more pleasant cup, but you can still have give a coffee a fair evaluation through cupping if it is a few weeks old. *

    (We all know that espresso can change dramatically in taste as it ages. *Waiting a week for a roast to settle for espresso is a bad thing in a "time is money" commercial setting and theres not much point in waiting until you have already sent your batches out to customers to do quality control on them.)

    *Higher tolerance for errors in measurement than espresso

    If you put 1/2g too much coffee in a cupping bowl or 10mL water less, it might taste stronger, but the basic flavour profile is unchanged. *If you use 1/2g too much coffee for espresso or extract 10mL less, the effect on flavour is dramatic.

    *Long sampling time during cooling

    As the cup cools, you tend to get a progression of flavours. *This is good because it gives you time to register everything and write down what is important.

    (For espresso, you get hit with everything at once.)

    *Non-porous, easily cleanable material

    Being ceramic or glass, cupping bowls need never be suspected of tainting the flavour in the cup as long as they are clean, which is easy to ensure, given that they can go through an ordinary dishwasher.

    (Dirty espresso machines can contribute to what you are tasting as an espresso. *Whats worse, clean machines can also do it, either through leftover detergent or the metallic taint that some people say that they notice on the first few shots after detergent has presumably stripped the coffee oils off the dispersion block.)

    For completeness, Ill offer a quick comparison with french press: FP might be good, but its more expensive, harder to clean and reported by some to contribute a bitter taste. *French press might be OK for doing one or two samples, but 30 french presses is a bit of a tall order.

    Cupping is an activity undertaken with a purpose

    Theres not much point in trying to have an opinion about cupping without connecting that opinion to the purpose for which cupping is being undertaken. *Coffee industry participants cup for a number of reasons:
    1. to decide which green coffee to buy;
    2. to grade and describe green coffee for others to buy;
    3. to compare the green delivered to the sample (and decide whether it meets contract specifications or should be rejected);
    4. to determine appropriate roast levels;
    5. to determine which origins can be roasted together;
    6. to ensure consistency across different roast batches;
    7. for fun or education!

    ... I might leave it there for the moment and come back later. I think that thats some good background information, but theres obviously more to be said.

    Cheers,

    Luca

  36. #36
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll

    Good post Luca. [smiley=tekst-toppie.gif]

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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll

    Quote Originally Posted by 70494F4E4545527F724F4153544552200 link=1239003952/33#33 date=1246147561
    Dennis, I think you are being a bit cynical of cupping
    cynic n. A person who believes all people are motivated by selfishness. A person whose outlook is scornfully and often habitually negative.

    Aaaw Jason, I prefer to think of myself as Lenfant terrible. ;)

    Quote Originally Posted by 70494F4E4545527F724F4153544552200 link=1239003952/33#33 date=1246147561
    we need to push the limits of consumer knowledge. Otherwise why not just roast a natural brazil and robusta blend because that is what they drink elsewhere? *
    To say we need to push the limits of consumer knowledge doesnt really sit well with me, and sounds a bit paternal - kind of like saying to a child that they, need to eat their peas. *I offer different coffees because I enjoy it, and it seems that most customers do too. *I get a kick out of seeing a customer try a different coffee, and say, "Ooh, I like this one" or, "I preferred the last one you had in the grinder". *Its taken a little while, but now lots of customers come in and ask, "Whats in the grinder today?" and seem genuinely excited to try something new, or an old fave.

    I dont think people generally appreciate advice. *I think people are far more comfortable when given information that allows them to come to their own conclusions. *If I can take part in the facilitation of their journey, thats nice, and do agree that cupping is one medium whereby this can be achieved.

    And thanks for your contribution Luca - I appreciate what youve said.


  38. #38
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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll

    Dennis, is what you describe not pushing consumer knowlede through education?

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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll

    Sounds like Den is promoting self-education.... 8-)

    Mal.

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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll

    Jason, maybe Im splitting hairs, but I view education as more of a teacher/pupil relationship. I might be having myself on but I hope I am just planting a seed, adding water, nurturing, and allowing nature to take its course.

    Quote Originally Posted by 6C41454944280 link=1239003952/38#38 date=1246264191
    Sounds like Den is promoting self-education.... 8-)

    Mal.
    Thats it in a nutshell Mal!

    On a related note, I intend to have an afternoon session inviting people to bring along their plungers (cause I figure thats how a lot of people have coffee at home), use one particular coffee, grind it the same way, and we all get to taste the results from different plungers. Will demonstrate how I use a plunger (oops, non-traditional again), and see what people think. Either way, Im hoping it will be fun!

    :)


  41. #41
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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll

    Quote Originally Posted by 5345404051535F56565555300 link=1239003952/39#39 date=1246272933
    Jason, maybe Im splitting hairs, but I view education as more of a teacher/pupil relationship. *I might be having myself on but I hope I am just planting a seed, adding water, nurturing, and allowing nature to take its course.
    Why is that a bad thing? Presumably a professional coffee roaster has more knowledge about their product than their average consumer. Education doesnt need to be patronising. Its not about someone being "better", but why is it a problem that some people possess expert knowledge and some dont? Of course, the way you conduct yourself has huge bearing on how thats perceived, but really, some people just know more about some stuff than other people do!!

    Im currently studying for my Wine Science exam and was just reading up on the Directions to 2025. One of the key strategies is to "encourage more Australians to drink better wine more frequently". Sub wine for coffee anyone ..?

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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll

    Quote Originally Posted by 2F362022430 link=1239003952/34#34 date=1246165070
    Cupping is an activity undertaken with a purpose

    Theres not much point in trying to have an opinion about cupping without connecting that opinion to the purpose for which cupping is being undertaken.Coffee industry participants cup for a number of reasons:
    1. to decide which green coffee to buy;
    2. to grade and describe green coffee for others to buy;
    3. to compare the green delivered to the sample (and decide whether it meets contract specifications or should be rejected);
    4. to determine appropriate roast levels;
    5. to determine which origins can be roasted together;
    6. to ensure consistency across different roast batches;
    7. for fun or education!
    You just nailed it on the head there Luca!

    If i am buying green, I cup it for the purpose I intend to use it, and therefore i roast accordingly for the method I will use for cupping.
    Traditional is best, in commercial circumstances, even if buying for espresso...just up the amount of coffee to get a better feel of what it would be like in the right equipment...

    As for personal use, I roast to 3 different levels, i use my espresso machine and sample all levels to select the level of darkness that exhibits the best attributes for that bean, on my palate!

    Apply that to your shop/customers and you should all be happy campers!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by 2F362022430 link=1239003952/34#34 date=1246165070
    Anyone who has tried to dial in a totally unknown espresso knows that 60g of roasted coffee doesnt give you much margin for error and you probably wont get multiple samples out of it
    I truly agree with you on this one...and believe me, 100g of roasted coffee dont go far when cupping in an espresso machine....

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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll

    Quote Originally Posted by 405A4C59592D0 link=1239003952/40#40 date=1246277343
    Why is that a bad thing?
    Education is certainly not a bad thing Michelle, and of course it doesnt need to be patronising. Then again, I do what works for me. It fits my style and personality. I consider the roles of teacher, trainer, and facilitator to be very different to each other and prefer the latter approach to learning.

    I havent an inkling as to the "Directions to 2025", nor the purpose of the key strategy you mention. Could it be to support the vineyards in their efforts to produce more bountiful and desirable crops, or educate the quaffer so they become the connoisseur? Does a better wine have more gold medals or come with a higher price tag? I dont know. I buy a wine I like, and buy others on a whim because I enjoy diversity. But if someone likes the same old same old, then good for them. I dont think that I was put on this earth to tell them Im right and theyre wrong. Its pretty bleeding obvious in the shop that I roast and prepare coffee. Im happy to talk to customers all day long about coffee. If they have questions I answer and also initiate conversation. But Im not about to tell them they should drink better coffee more frequently!


  44. #44
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll

    Quote Originally Posted by 4F595C5C4D4F434A4A49492C0 link=1239003952/42#42 date=1246282808
    teacher, trainer, and facilitator
    As someone who has been all the above, there isnt a great deal of difference except in nomenclature. A teacher, if "school" is applied, is usually more didactic and pedagogical in nature because an aspect of authority comes more into play. The best teachers are those who inspire their students to learn. This also applies to trainers and facilitators.

    But any good teacher/trainer/faciliator will direct their students to learn, not just tell them. However, learning styles need to be considered and some people prefer the auditory style: being told.

    Most aspects of learning about coffee are kinaesthetic (hands-on) - especially cupping. I dont think anyone can properly learn by reading from a book, watching a video or just having it explained.

  45. #45
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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll

    OK, so I havent really had time to come back and finish the (long) train of thought that I started above, but I recently stumbled across two articles from well respected people in the coffee industry that do a pretty good job of making the point that good coffee is hidden amongst an immense amount of mediocre to horrible coffee and that cupping is the way to get to it. This makes perfect sense when you think of cupping as simply an exercise in tasting, describing and evaluating a product that is meant to be consumed, rather than thinking of cupping as some sort of wanky elitist club that requires you to forever be checking your copy of larousse for more and more exotic foodstuffs to pretend to be noticing.

    This article by Michael Sivetz is particularly noteworthy for us home coffee dudes because it gives a number of examples of coffee that he rejected as a result of sensory evaluation: http://www.sweetmarias.com/sivetzpreface.html

    This article by Tom Owen does a good job of conveying how hard it can be to get really good coffee if you are a relatively small buyer: http://www.sweetmarias.com/buy-your-own-bags.html

    Now, what Sivetz and Owen are on about is cupping in the sense of selecting green for purchase in commercial quantities and is, therefore, of limited direct relevance to home roasters. Rather, the significance of those articles is that they drive home the point that cupping to select batches for purchase is a very important part of what professional roasters do. If you are a home roaster, chances are that you do not have an opportunity to cup your green before you buy it, which is really only fair, given the small quantities of coffee and small amounts of money that we deal in.

    Cheers,
    Luca

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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll

    I cup (to the extent that this word applies to what I do) by doing my usual routine:

    1: Find a grind/tamp combo that works (if my regular doesnt).
    2: Run a double through the machine and into a prewarmed cup.
    3: Drink as a double-shot cuppucino and make a mental note of the elements.
    4: Decide whether or not I will buy again, adjust roast, etc.

    Some elements that the top guys pick out in the tasting of beers, wines and coffee just floors me. I got some hazelnut, cocoa, and a hint of port in a Guatamalan I had the other day...but thats about as precise as I get. Add the mingling of early/mid/late palattes and bitterness quality to the mix and Im done.

    I find next to no point in cupping as an espresso as I generally do not drink them and the results will be fairly meaningless for me. Notice I said me - thats who I cup for. Others may and probably will differ from my evaluation of a said coffee.

    Cheers - boingk

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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll

    I dont traditionally cup. I never drink long blacks. My coffee never goes cold. I will never fund trips to self-source at multiple origins. I therefore trust in my taste-bud proven quality green buyers.

    I "smell and taste" via espresso as I prefer the abundant intense richness of espresso and espresso based milk drinks, and its what I offer to my guests.

    Luca, I appreciate your clear, interesting and detailed posts highlighting the core purposes of traditional cupping.

  48. #48
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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll


    In the latest Beanscene, Inni writes some thoughts regarding cupping - espresso versus traditional.

    Im on his wavelength. Are you?


  49. #49
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll

    Quote Originally Posted by 70515A5A5D47340 link=1239003952/47#47 date=1250755785
    In the latest Beanscene, Inni writes some thoughts regarding cupping - espresso versus traditional.

    Im on his wavelength. *Are you?
    Havent got my copy yet Den... Ill let you know ;)

    Mal.

  50. #50
    mwatt
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    Re: How do you cup your coffee poll

    Quote Originally Posted by 10313A3A3D27540 link=1239003952/47#47 date=1250755785
    In the latest Beanscene, Inni writes some thoughts regarding cupping - espresso versus traditional.

    Im on his wavelength. *Are you?
    For what exactly? That it makes sense to cup coffee intended for espresso as espresso?






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