Our next topic of discussion was what we are able to taste in general and then more specifically how those tastes manifest in coffee. Broadly speaking, humans are able to taste saltiness, sweetness, bitterness, sourness and savories. Applying this to coffee, we taste specific type and intensity of acidity, flavor, body and session.
The major point of providing this information before diving into the cupping exercise was to guide participants into a more heightened state of sensory awareness, so that our coffees could be more affectively experienced. Tasting things thoughtfully isn’t something everyone is familiar with, so we wanted to provide knowledge and techniques on how to do so. Additionally, we provided a projection of the SCAA flavor wheel so that people could have a visualization of various characteristics to apply while tasting coffee. Without a visual queue you’re relying on memory to provide you the descriptors that apply to what you’re experiencing, which can prove frustrating and difficult to the most skilled tasters. A good practice while tasting is to do so comparatively, so after doing a single pass through all of our offerings we suggested our participants go back and forth tasting two different coffees: one from a Latin American origin and the other from an African Origin.
The engagement and level of intrigue we received from participants was humbling. We shared the experience with local baristas and other industry people, home roasters, and those just wanting to learn about coffee and how to taste its complexities.
Stay tuned for future cuppings coming in early 2018.
Thanks for making this event a special one St. Louis!