A Guide to Cupping Coffee

– What’s going on guys? My fellow coffee friends Today we’re gonna talk about different roasts We’re gonna talk about how to taste differences between the different roasts, and we’re gonna cup a coffee with my friend Eric It’s gonna be a lot of fun Let’s get started (uplifting electronic music) So today’s topic is actually sourced from the comments We’ll be talking about Daniel and Matt’s question about best roast, different flavors, and different varieties, and origins, you know, what are they like? What we’re going to do today to sort of explore this topic is we’re going to do a professional tasting called the cupping A lot of coffee professionals use cuppings to calibrate roast profiles for their single origins figuring out which coffee should go with which blends comparing and scoring coffees, a variety of different ways to use what we learn on the cupping table And so we’re gonna go through this process I’m going to have a friend come and taste coffee with me because at the end of the day, it’s an adventure and it should be shared Before I begin I want to mention just a couple things about my personal preference I like to drink coffee black and for that reason I tend to like medium to light roasted coffees, but I like dark chocolates, you know, they have like a nice tangy sweetness They’ve got great aromatics to it, and they have a great texture, a nice fudegy, chocolatey, velvety texture If you like to drink your coffees black, I recommend starting at medium Even if you like to drink it with milk and sugar, I’d recommend starting it with medium Medium coffees tend to have enough body to withstand some dilution whether that’s with sugar or cream If you find that your coffee taste a little diluted when you add cream and sugar, go ahead and try a little bit of a darker roast I tend to find that those stand up to dilution a little bit better The first time I cupped coffee was probably five to six years ago I had just started my coffee journey and, working at a cafe and, I wanted to know more about what to taste for in coffee After the experience I realized that I didn’t know anything of what I was tasting, but it was eye-opening because I realized that I needed other people’s perspectives to better understand and create a shared language for what it is that I’m experiencing as I’m tasting coffees So what we’re going to do is we’re gonna do a cupping together I don’t have a professional set up because, if you wanna try this at home you should be able to I just have some large glasses, some tall glasses, some hot water, I’ve got a coffee grinder over here and three different coffees Doing this will help you taste coffee, it won’t necessarily be a drinkable beverage at the end So the first step in cupping is grinding the coffee beans, of course, and then what we like to do is kind of tap it on its side so we can get the coffee beans a little bit into the air and we get the dry aroma The second step is pouring the hot water and we let that saturate for about four minutes total What we do then is take a nice big smell of the coffee as it rises to the top That’s another type of aroma, it’s the wet aroma After that, we break the crust and, again we smell As we break the floating coffee on the top, it releases yet another series of sensations that we like the smell about the coffees We usually cup the same coffee twice just to make sure any inconsistencies are sort of ironed out between the two tasters After that, we scrape off what floats to the top which is usually bitter caffeine and wait for it to cool down up to 15 minutes before we start tasting For me it’s really hard to taste coffee when it’s hot I just kind of taste hot, and so I like to wait for it to cool down I recommend doing that with any coffee you try You can get a little more sweetness and nuance out of it Alright let’s start Eric, welcome to my cupping class – Thanks – It’s not a class it’s, Hi! – I feel like you’re a great teacher though this is a class – Thank you – I don’t know that much about coffee and I really need it right now ’cause it’s the end of the day and I’m so tired – Perfect, perfect So what we’re going to do is we’re going to do a cupping and all I want you to do is just tell me what you smell and taste – Okay – We’re doing three different coffees so this one is a light roast this one is a medium and this one is pretty dark So through the magic of video editing I’ve now ground my coffee (Eric laughs) and we went for a slightly more course than normal for Bruce We used 11 grams per cup and we’re just going to fill it up to the top again before we start let’s do some dry smell – Okay – So we’ll always start right here down to the dark So light to dark and definitely smell both cups – Oh – yeah go for it – Both Cups? – Mhm Give it a little tap too That might help like lift the, yeah Professional already

– And I’m supposed to smell the difference between these two? – No, you’re going to smell just an average It helps mitigate inconsistency – Oh wow that’s smart It actually smells like Korean Fermented Soybean, Doenjang It’s kind of like this funky misoy smell – I knew exactly what he’s talking about – You know what I’m talking about? Oh yeah! (Matthew laughs) I always forget he’s Korean (both laughing) – Yeah, I know exactly what you’re talking about, I get sweet, savory, umami, I get a little bit of vibrancy, you know, something bright in there I won’t ascribe a fruit to it, because we all taste fruits differently, but it tends to be a little bit brighter – [Eric] It’s savory, it’s funky – Lets do this one, I’ll switch with you in just a sec (tapping glasses) – Hm mm (tapping glasses) – This is like instant good mood (laughing) – Same I kind of honestly get a little nuttiness Sweet fragrance, but not necessarily like a fruity or sweet, like a more of more a savory note of kind of for me comes out a bit more for me on this roast – Interesting. This one’s more dirt like to me like chocholatey – Yeah. Yeah. Earthy – Earthy. Ha. Earthy because this ones reminds me of like a savory funkiness – Yeah – This one has lost that. More mild maybe – [Matthew] Okay lets do the dark (tapping glasses) – Oh – Oh – Yeah – That’s fun – This is like reminds me of like my first coffee memories Ya know my grandma pouring instant coffee into a cup – Folgers – Yeah I would smell just the instant coffee I wouldn’t even drink it It just smelled so good and rich – [Eric] Oh, I was afraid, this one reminds me more of kind of funky misoy smell I was afraid I would not be able to smell any of these because,– – Yeah, that has like a really rich rich developed flavor on it Much more developed than I’d say these two – [Matthew] So now we’ll do the exact same thing starting this way we’ll smell the coffees so go, just put your, yeah – [Eric] It smells like, when you good to a sauna all the saunas that you go to and the steam room what’s that wood that’s burning in the corner – I don’t know it kind of varies from – You know that things smell really particular – Yeah – I get– – Oh wait it smells like that – Yeah – I need to find out what that wood is – Yeah – If someone knows what that is comment, – (laughs)Comment – Or you will do an air bubble right here. Yeah Oh sorry did you want to move on? – Yeah, lets move on – [Eric] Oh, this is definitely more chocolatey – Mm hmm – Which I think I said, Right – Yeah This is so fun Am I getting caffeine by sniffing it? No – (laughing)I hooked that up – I want to hear your thoughts on this one – Mm hmm, Okay I felt this way when I sniffing them dry This reminds me of this one – Interesting. Why? – I don’t Know This smells like savory This one’s definitely like chocolatey This one was also savory, but– (laughing)I put my nose in there (phone beeps) – Alright, well, with that, we’re going to break the crust (music) – [Matthew] This one’s already pretty much broken We’re gonna do, you’re gonna grab one spoon, and me the other, and we’re gonna do, is we’re going to do, one down, push and a circle around the rim. Okay, – Why are you pushing it? – Because we’re trying to submerge it, and as we’re doing it, it’s going to release a new set of smells – Okay – So ready So I’ll show you on this one You can start on that one even though there’s not much there – Okay – So you go like this, this (music) After that, dip, dry, and again – What an art – So I’ll do actually, I’ll do one set, and you did the other set. How does that sound – Okay (music) – Alright, your turn – Wow (music) – [Matthew] Yeah, get real close You kind of smell how it’s changing (music) – I forgot to breathe (all laughing) – You doing great. You are doing great (music)

– This one was fun for me – Alright – Yeah (music) – Wow that is different – Yeah And then the last one that’s already kind of, just give it a stir I guess – Yeah, okay Wow – Mm hmm – Oh my God, this one has like a just nutty it I can’t wait to taste this one. It’s so weird, – Mm hmm – but in a great way Oh, it’s like chestnuts roasting – Perfect. I’m gonna grab this from you real quick So now we’re going to do the last part before we wait, called skimming, where I just take all the foam off – [Eric] Is there a reason – [Matthew] Yep, that is basically caffeine, and bitter flavors, and we’re trying to not have that in our cups anymore Oops. What was some comparisons here, from the first to the second? – I think, was able to smell all three of them more, more clearly, because it wasn’t so strong – Yeah But this one totally changed flavor, like, is the one that I said smelled like the sauna – Yeah – So this one smelled like, I just kept thinking about, you know, I went from like Doenjang Korean soybean, and then I went to sauna woods whatever that is, and then a third time it smelled like roasted chestnuts, but all three times there was, like this deep, wood sea like – Yeah, – Yeah, savory flavor – Yeah, I find that during from for me, like during this process of breaking the crust, and kind of having it, I get a very nice picture of what I want to taste for when I make the coffee So with all these smells, I kind of just sort of construct what the potential beverage is So cupping is often times used to great coffees It’s used to taste, let’s say you get a coffee from Ethiopia, and you’re developing multiple roast profiles for it They will then compare every roast profile with each bean, like two, or three cups, and then comparing and contrasting, what develops the most of the natural sugars, and terroir really kind of shine through They use it for blending components So like if you want to make a blend, they’ll cup and taste every components Really, this is kind of instrumental in sort of deciphering the nuances and differences between the coffee amongst coffee professionals – Do you cup when you’re when you’ve just bought a couple new bags? – Never – By then you’ve already, you already know – No, I, by the time I’m when I buy a bag of coffee, I don’t cup, because, one, it needs to be pretty fresh off roast So whatever I end up buying on the shelf is usually already about a week old It doesn’t make me enjoy the coffee It helps me analyze what I’m tasting, like the differences, but it doesn’t help me appreciate, what the farmers have cultivated, and what the roasters have developed It was in those moments, of going to cuppings, and just coffee tastings with other coffee enthusiasts that, I began to understand that, I can get a little bit more out of my coffee aside from just acidity Over the course of these past five to six years of tasting different coffees, I’m finding that, that deep sweetness, that umami, the Doenjang.(laughs) Is kind of what makes coffee delicious It’s not necessarily the acidity that does, it makes the acidity makes it fun for me – Yeah, – The savoriness makes me want more That’s what makes me keep coming back Like I want that, that comfort in the morning You know, – I love that I you ever had that coffee at — – —–where are they again? – It’s like right up the street Probably like we don’t want to include this, but I hate their coffee so much (Matthew laughs) It’s unfortunate. It’s like that’s not your style You know if you’re a coffee shop, and you have these espresso drinks, and you only use one bean, but if that bean is not your bean, as a customer, like, how does that make, I don’t know, it doesn’t make sense to me It’s like, some coffee shops only sell one bean, because teaching baristas how to taste for sweetness, can take very, like a very, very long time – Why do you say sweetness specifically? Because that’s like the goal, or something, or– – Yeah – Okay So, have you’ve had a coffee that tastes really sour? – Yeah So those are,— – This one are delicious – Okay, exactly. Are you talking about—? – Yeah.(laughs) – So, the reason why that happens is, because with lighter roasted coffees, they don’t develop as much umami during the Maillard reaction, when they’re roasting. Right So you get a little bit less of that savory sweetness That’s that sweetness that I’m talking about? It’s in there. It’s definitely there It’s just more subtle – Okay What’s fun for me as a, like someone who loves coffee,

is tasting the acidity, and so a lot of coffee professionals, like I think, this could be into, honestly an argument with some people, but like, they love to exemplify that coffees, uniqueness through its acidity, – [Eric] Right – Whereas I think it’s much better to drink, when it’s more controlled, it’s more nuance, and you bring out the coffee’s natural sweetness – It’s not blasting you in the face – Yeah, yeah – I agree with that (music) – We’re waiting for it to cool down We’ve been waiting for about, I’d say, you know, nine-10 minutes I’m going to give a slurp if it’s still a little too high We’re going to wait longer – Okay – So this is a spitting part But as you can imagine, coffee professionals would have, like, I don’t know, 50 different cups on the plate, and so, if you’re trying all that you’re gonna shake – [Eric] Okay – So that’s why they spit, – right – but you don’t have to spit, because you were telling me, you need coffee, and what you do is just get a little bit (sucking and spitting) – I kind of like wine – Just really, you want it to coat the entirety of your palate, so that’s the roof of your mouth, under your tongue, like we’re in a Roman shop Just slurp away. It’s great (sucking) Oh, yeah, coffee.(whispers)Coffee, coffee (sucking and spitting) – I really want to drink it.(laughs)I drank it – Drink it. Yeah, just drink – It’s really good – Yeah, yeah – This one’s so interesting. I love it (sucking and spitting) – Can you do it one more time, so I can be sure – Yeah (sucking and spitting) (all laughing) It’s okay. It’s okay I did that every time – I can’t do this with wine either Every time they pour my wine at a restaurant, and like, have a taste, and then I like,(sucking)oh, it tastes great (Matthew laughing) – [Matthew] You’re just like, I don’t want to do.(sucking) – I wanna do it again – (coughs) Okay, – Oh yeah Mm hmm. Mm hmm(sucking) – This one smells like hot chocolate. It’s like,(sucking) how do you not give it back to your throat when you do that? – I have done it a lot I also kind of like, tilt my head forward a little bit So it’s spring against the back of my throat as much as it’s just sort of more towards the roof of the mouth, but— (Eric sucking) – I like the flavor of that one I think that’s the one that I would normally drink, and buy actually it’s like,– – (sucking)Right in that middle – Maybe I’m not a coffee drinker who’s looking for, you know, the acidic complexity of that kind, but, yeah, so this is what I like to drink, but, – Yeah, – I like that, you say that it’s okay to like, the simpler one, or But you wouldn’t, would you call this simpler than that? – Not necessarily, – Yeah – but I know exactly what you mean I think there’s this connotation, or assumption really, that darker roast coffees are less refined, but traditional American coffees have always been pretty dark Just because it’s darker doesn’t mean it’s bad I also prefer the central one often times (sucking) – Hmm, that one is interesting I mean, this isn’t the best way possible, but this one reminds me of gas station coffee (laughing) You know, it’s like, it’s intense – What I like actually about gas station coffees, I know exactly what I’m getting It’s not a surprise When I order a single word and coffee from like specialty shops, – Yeah – I don’t know what the baristas interpretation of like, the best extraction from that coffee is going to look like – Yeah Gas station coffee, you know, the big chains, they’re great, because I don’t have to guess my experience It’s always going to be the same What makes the single origin fun, is trying to embrace this interpretation, and then taking it home and trying my own, – Yeah – and just tinkering with it, you know, it’s, it’s like the experimentation, and that’s ultimately like, my great point here is, these coffees are all different They all have different roasts, but we really, no matter how much we could talk about it, at the end of the day, we wouldn’t know how to describe it unless we try it – Yeah, – You know, I think there are so many questions we can ask about what makes coffee different from one coffee to the other, and to answer that, is truly like, a personal experience for me, that can be shared, that can be connected with other people, but it has to be done by trying the coffees, Roasters, like I had mentioned kind of like, roast the same coffee at different like, roast profiles, and so maybe they start at, you know, 400+ Fahrenheit, and then it drops down when they put the cold coffee in, and then they ramp it up at a certain rate

Most roasters, are trying to bring out the like, the best flavor of like, both highlighting the beans natural, like terroir development in on the farm, as well as making sure to bring out just a touch more sweetness here, or a little less over there It’s like a truly an unfinished product, – Yeah even at home, you know, it’s still got that last step of you, me, friends, coffee shops, you know – [Eric] it’s so poetic. I love that This is so much fun. Thank you – Yeah I’m like, – I’m glad you could go have some coffee – I like, yeah, yeah.(laughing) I was like I, gonna empty this cup – So, if I’m buying these different kinds of grounds, do you, do you grind them up differently? And do you do them differently? – I tend to grind based off of how I brew So with immersion style brewing, like a French press, right For example, I would do a little bit of a coarser grind A little finer than what we’ve cuped for sure, but I do a little coarser, and then if we’re doing pour over, just a hair finer, just a hair not too much I don’t think a coffee tastes better through a different brew method from one to the other Now, that being said, I may change my mind on what I prefer over time So for example, let’s take this coffee It’s bright, it’s a coffee from Columbia It has a higher elevation, so the beans are a little bit denser, has a lot more sugar, but it’s a light roast, and so if I were to put this through a pour over and possibly achemics, it filters out oils that might change the texture of the coffee. So then I’ll change to French press, which doesn’t filter oils out and makes what was originally, a pretty acidic coffee into a smoother bodied coffee – Oh, because the oils were even flavors – Yeah For darker roasted coffees, I tend to let pour overs, because it retains some of the oils, obviously not all of them, but it comes out with a slightly cleaner cup than French press, and so it has a little bit more of a balanced flavor Does that make sense? – Yeah And then with like the darkest roasts, I kind of just have fun with it Condensed milk, sugar, honey, – Right – you know, I’ve even tried salt, because why not? And then like kind of made it sweeter – Yeah I’m not recommending it, but you know, have fun with it – I have a brother who is as interested in coffee as you are, and he sends me really fancy, or fancy-like single origin stuff Now he starts to send me more like these kinds of things that I like the deeper noted ones, but you know, when when my brothers coffee runs out, I go out and buy the ground hazelnut, Dunkin Donuts coffee That’s like, but I like to like change it up But I do you think like, what I actually want to do after this is go to a cupping, because I just learned so much, and this was so fun. It was like so fun – Right Actually, you should do it for the office – Maybe – Like, so many people would love this – Okay – Maybe should do for that at(whispers) (laughs) So let’s just go ahead of this, and Gabrielle, our producer – So thank you so much for joining me, and talking about coffee We’ve talked a lot, and I’m very excited, because at the end of the day, what I hope you and I kind of experienced together by having coffees and a variety of coffees together, is that although we taste differently, we would have never known, if we hadn’t shared our experiences So definitely keep trying new coffees, go out there, try it differently Have fun with it. Take your friend Eric It’s going to be a good time If you want to see more videos, hit the like button, write a comment Tell me more of what you guys want We go through those comments, you know, will answer them as best as we can, and thanks for watching guys Have a great day (music)