Cupping and tasting coffee like a pro – igniting the senses

Perth coffee importers and roasters, 5 Senses, are passionate about their product and about how it is used. 5senses1

I was invited to a 5 Senses coffee cupping, which is how professionals in the global coffee industry taste coffee.  We tasted different types of single origin coffee this way – two from Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, and Panama.  Eight grams of coarsely ground coffee is placed in a cup (or glass in our case) and topped with water that is 95 degrees (just under boiling). It’s very important to let the coffee sit without agitation – no stirring. The coffee floats to the top of the glass and after three minutes or so, it forms a crust.


To taste the coffee, get close to the cup with your nose right over it, then with a soup or desert spoon and push back the crust layer of coffee that has formed on the top – do this three times smelling as you do.  Scoop some coffee (without grains) onto the spoon and slurp it loud, taking in as much air as you can. Then quickly smell the back of the spoon – for some reason, the smell is most intense on the back of the spoon.

The coffee made this way is not syrupy like it is when it comes out of a good espresso machine – it’s watery.  It was amazing the difference in taste. One of the coffees from Ethiopia was really grassy tasting, while the Geisha from Panama had an underlying sweetness and is described as “like a tea”. The Indian single origin was harsh and bitter, and the other Ethiopian tasted a bit earthy, dirty even.

If you want to taste coffee like a professional, this is how they do it around the world. Thanks 5 Senses for an interesting and informative cupping session.

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post and the cupping session was an event held for food bloggers who attended Eat Drink Blog in Perth 9-10 November.


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