Flavor Profile Analysis:
After the coffee has cooled sufficiently take some coffee into the spoon and slurp the coffee strongly to aspirate it over the entire tongue. It is important to aspirate strongly since you are trying to cover the entire tongue evenly. Aspirating strongly will also causes tiny droplet of coffee to be distributed into the throat and into the nasal passage where the nose can Most of the flavor observed in a coffee is a result of aromatic compounds present in the coffee. This effect can be demonstrated by plugging your nose while drinking coffee. While the nasal passage is blocked the coffee will likely taste similar to instant coffee due to its lack of aroma. When the nasal passage is opened a full rainbow of flavors will immediately become evident.
Write down your observations of flavor, acidity, aftertaste, and body. Move to the other sample and try to compare the different cups. As the coffee in each cup cools, it is often possible to detect new flavors. Therefore, it is important to cup a coffee when it is both warm and when it has cooled to just above room temperature. The best coffees will have positive characteristics at both ranges of temperature.
If you are cupping more than a couple cups of coffee, it is advisable to spit out the coffee after evaluation. When cupping several coffees it is possible to have too much caffeine, which can adversely alter your cupping ability.
The key to cupping is practice and humility. The best cuppers I know are modest and always eager to learn more. I have served on cupping juries with some of the best in the world and we do not always agree. The beauty is that we agree to disagree while respecting and trying to identify the characteristics that other people find.
Old City Coffee’s “101” on the blending of coffee
Over the last twentyfive years, Old City Coffee’s offering has evolved to where we now offer over a dozen blends. In the specialty coffee sector there are two distinct types or styles of blending coffee: mélange or standard blending. Mélange is the art of blending coffee after roasting. Standard blending is the craft or skill of blending coffee before it is roasted. The goal of the “blendnmeister” is to offer a different taste profile, but not necessarily better. By combining varied taste profiles OCC arrives at a blend where the goal is a coffee that is “greater than its parts”. Generally OCC blends three to four coffees components to a blend. The exception is our fabled Six-Bean Espresso Roast.
Here’s an offering of our tried and true blends:
Mélange: Old City Blend (avail reg. & CO2 decaf), Bollywood, Balzac Blend (partial standard) (avail reg. & CO2/H2O decaf), Reading Blend, Los Angles, San Francisco Blend, and Original Espresso,
Standard: Six Bean Espresso, Mocha /Java (available Swiss H2O decaf)
OCC’s blends, whether mélange or standard blends, offer the coffee lover the full flavor spectrum from which to choose: Balzac offers deep darkly roasted bittersweet tang combined with the thick mouth feel and slightly (positive) gaminess. We bring you blends as an alternative experience for your pallet. Try, test and decide which blends please you! -Yours in full flavor OCC
Do not be intimidated by people that try to impress you with some abstract description of a coffee. This is more of a romantic tribute to a coffee rather than a reality. Cupping should be fun and interesting, but not a contest of who is more articulate. On the other hand, your description should be more substantial than a reiteration of a textbook definition of a coffee.
Despite the strict, scientific like protocol to cupping, the method followed in the industry is quite varied and almost every good cupper has his or her own permutation. Cup under conditions you like, but try to stay close to the standards in case you need to cup with other people.
A confusing term at best, acidity is a value neutral characteristic that is often confused with bitter. Acidity is expected and desired in most American coffees and can be wonderfully surprising if found in coffees grown elsewhere.