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  • Learning to cup

    Hi,

    I remember taking a wine appreciation class as part of an hospitality course I did after finishing high school, and thinking at the time how valuable it was to have someone point out different flavours and how best to describe them. I never went on to be much of a wine critic, but it helped me understand which varieties I like and what I like about them.

    Im wondering whether there is any equivalent classes for learning to cup coffee? At the moment I know whether I like a cup of coffee, but struggle to pinpoint exactly what I do or dont like about a particular cup or style. I have seen examples of flavour wheels on the web, which seem to have all of the different flavours and descriptions on them, but Im hoping that there is somewhere you could go where a knowledgeable person would provide examples of different coffees and explain exactly what is being tasted and how it relates to the different descriptions on a flavour wheel.

    I have seen some of the barista courses available from some of the site sponsors, and even though Id love to do those too (and hope to soon), they seem to focus more on technique than they do on the actual tasting - I could be wrong of course, so please tell me if I am.

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
    bean_junky

  • #2
    Re: Learning to cup

    bean_junky, where are you located?

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Learning to cup

      Originally posted by chris002200 link=1173909743/0#1 date=1173925035
      bean_junky, where are you located?
      Hi there Chris. Im in Melbourne.
      bean_junky

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      • #4
        Re: Learning to cup

        Hi Bean_Junky,

        Pete and I have been dreaming of running something like this, but we probably wont have it together until all of the barista championship stuff is over and done with. Were also considering opening up regular quality assurance cuppings to CS members.

        Cheers,

        Luca

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Learning to cup

          Sounds great. *sluuuuurp*

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          • #6
            Re: Learning to cup

            Originally posted by Veneziano Caffe link=1173909743/0#3 date=1173942424
            Hi Bean_Junky,

            Pete and I have been dreaming of running something like this, but we probably wont have it together until all of the barista championship stuff is over and done with. Were also considering opening up regular quality assurance cuppings to CS members.

            Cheers,

            Luca
            Hi Luca,
            Itd be a great service for us newbies. Im very good at learning all of the technical stuff on my own - well with the help of all of the great information on sites like this anyway - but taste is such a subjective thing that is really difficult to learn unless you have a point of reference. Reading about it just isnt the same as actually experiencing it with someone who is able to point things out to you.

            I need someone to give me a cup of coffee and tell me that it tastes like chocolate with a hint of broccoli so that I can say "yessss, yesss... I can taste the broccoli in this coffee!" ;D Im sure that none of the coffee at Veneziano Caffe tastes like broccoli though, so I may need someone else to point that one out to me... ;D

            Seriously though, Id be very interested in something like this if and when you set it up.

            While Ive got you here Luca, Ive been meaning to come and check out Veneziano Caffe... what days is it open on the weekend? Im sure that your website says Saturday only, but in another post I read that youre open on Sundays???

            Cheers,
            bean_junky

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Learning to cup

              Hi Bean_Junky,

              Re: Broccoli; whilst I certainly hope that none of our blends taste like broccoli, I think that learning to cup for undesirable qualities is as important, if not more important, than learning to cup for the right qualities - especially if you are a home roaster. I know that when I started roasting, I would often think "yeah, thats OK, but it could be better" and then roast up a batch of the same thing next week, with similar results. After having done a bit more tasting, cupping and having faults pointed out to me, Im now able to say "yeah, thats OK, but its a bit grassy" and correct the fault accordingly.

              Re: Weekend opening times; the webpage/sponsors thread is right. Were open weekdays 8-5 and Saturday 9-1 and not open on Sunday. I think that the reference to us being open on the other thread was intended to be a reference to St Ali, which is most definitely open on Sunday - weve got to have somewhere to go for coffee!

              Cheers,

              Luca

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Learning to cup

                Tasting like broccoli isnt near as bad as the smell of broccoli refrigerated in a sealed container. Talk about stinky!

                OTOH, I wholeheartedly agree with Luca. I always started trying to pick out flavour components within the cup. Now I try to find the "off tastes." If I detect something, I make note of it, and try to rectify it with a bit more rest, a gentler roasting profile etc.

                Another good training aid to get your olfactory nerves stimulated would be Le Nez du Cafe. It gives you great insight into what may be in the cup. Hook up with someone who has a set, because it is quite dear.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Learning to cup

                  I did a cupping day recently and it certainly opened my eyes to the importance of the negative aspects of a bean as well as the positive attirbutes. It would be great to see more cupping sessions going on. Learning the proper technique was also useful as my home cupping efforts were a bit haphazard. Id read about it but never practiced it properly.

                  Hopefully after a little more practice Ill feel experienced enough to post up the results of a few sessions in the cupping part of the BB.

                  If you can find a session running Id get on it - and hopefully well see it being offered by most of the better coffee roasters (and site sponsors)as part of their services.

                  One day Ill have to get across to Melbourne - you guys seem to be having a lot of fun over there!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Learning to cup

                    Originally posted by Veneziano Caffe link=1173909743/0#6 date=1174004527
                    Hi Bean_Junky,

                    Re: Broccoli; whilst I certainly hope that none of our blends taste like broccoli, I think that learning to cup for undesirable qualities is as important, if not more important, than learning to cup for the right qualities - especially if you are a home roaster. I know that when I started roasting, I would often think "yeah, thats OK, but it could be better" and then roast up a batch of the same thing next week, with similar results. After having done a bit more tasting, cupping and having faults pointed out to me, Im now able to say "yeah, thats OK, but its a bit grassy" and correct the fault accordingly.

                    Re: Weekend opening times; the webpage/sponsors thread is right. Were open weekdays 8-5 and Saturday 9-1 and not open on Sunday. I think that the reference to us being open on the other thread was intended to be a reference to St Ali, which is most definitely open on Sunday - weve got to have somewhere to go for coffee!

                    Cheers,

                    Luca
                    Cheers Luca. Ive only roasted a half-dozen batches or so, but Im definitely at the point where Im thinking "thats okay, but could be better"... Im also hoping to get to the stage where I can pin-point what, exactly, I dont like about a cup, and then work on trying to correct it. Practice makes perfect I suppose.

                    Thanks for clearing up the query re your opening hours... Ill try to pop in as soon as I get a chance.
                    bean_junky

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Learning to cup

                      Originally posted by nunu link=1173909743/0#7 date=1174007662
                      Another good training aid to get your olfactory nerves stimulated would be Le Nez du Cafe. It gives you great insight into what may be in the cup. Hook up with someone who has a set, because it is quite dear.
                      I had no idea what you were referring to here, but a quick Google search put me on the right track. It looks like a brilliant idea, but youre right re the cost. I dont think I can justify that sort of money right now, but Ill keep it in mind for later down the track.

                      Cheers,
                      bean_junky

                      Comment

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