13 Aug How to Cup Kopi Luwak Coffee
Coffee cupping is the process to evaluate coffee’s taste, the stop-and-smell-the-roses step in your development as a coffee drinker. Have you ever seen a wine taster swirling a vintage Cabernet in a glass and sniffing it before taking a tiny sip? Well, cupping coffee is the coffee world’s equivalent.
And it has layers of flavor. It awakens taste buds on your tongue as it flows around your mouth. Our Kopi Luwak coffee gets more flavorful as it cools. Where wine drinkers credit wine’s relaxing qualities for giving its imbibers more taste toward the end of a glass, coffee drinkers cite coffee’s stimulating quality as a flavor enhancer. That means the second cup is often tastier than the first.
A classic cupping operation uses tiny ceramic coffee cups, but rocks glasses, china, or glassware suite the technique as well. If cupping with others, you may wish to prepare separate samples for each participant. If you share, rinse your spoon as you cup. People who cup often obtain a special cupping spoon that is wide like a soup spoon, almost round in shape, with a snub nose.
How to Cup Coffee
Cupping is best done in a relaxed style. It requires a head free of colds or other barriers to smell and taste buds, and free of strong competing flavors. Ample time is the only practical way to allow for multiple tastings as the coffee cools, so it is important to allot enough time. Allow a minimum one hour to cup up to six coffees.
Keeping a Journal of Cupping Experiences
There are some coffee buyers who have kept journals for many years. Doing so will allow you to remember in great detail the various notes from each coffee you cup. If you don’t keep a log, a cup of coffee only lasts minutes. With a log, your coffee last as long as the ink remains on the page.
To Spit or Not to Spit?
That is a question for which there is no answer, or rather, the answer is a personal choice. Professional cuppers keep a spittoon nearby. For them, it is necessary because they cup many coffees in a day, and still need to get a full night’s sleep. If only cupping a few favorites, we recommend fully enjoying the coffee by drinking it. Always keep a spittoon or other receptacle nearby in case a coffee doesn’t taste good (which is likely when comparing many coffees to our Kopi Luwak!). Consider using a large glass, bowl, or other receptacle that you can empty and reuse. Also sparkling water does wonders for refreshing the palate. Keep a bottle on hand for sipping between cuppings.
- Fill a kettle (you can never have too much hot water) with filtered, good tasting water, and set it to boil on the stove.
- Set out small glasses, one for each coffee sample. Place a few large water glasses at the center of the arrangement.
- Place 2 tablespoons of fresh finely ground coffee in each glass for each 6 ounce sample. The tall water glasses should not have coffee in them.
- Once the water boils, turn off the burner and wait for 1 minute.
- Pour 6 ounces of hot water into each cup. Do not stir the grounds. Fill the tall glasses two-thirds of the way with hot water. You will rinse your cupping spoons in these glasses, as needed.
- Allow the coffee to steep for four minutes. Then with a large cupping spoon, break the crust of grounds on each coffee sample. As you do this, place your nose as close as possible to the sample, and inhale the coffee’s aromas. In your cupping log or a note pad, record your observations.
- With the spoon, remove and discard the floating pieces of crust from each sample. The wet grounds clump together and are easy to remove.
- Rinse the spoon in a hot water bath. Dip the clean spoon into one sample and carefully slurp it into your mouth. The louder the slurp, the more likely you are doing it authentically, as they do in Amsterdam’s cupping houses.
- Note the various taste sensations in your cupping log or note pad. Rinse your spoon before moving to a new sample.
- Taste all the samples, noting all flavors in your cupping log.
- Repeat the slurping as the coffee cools. You may be surprised at the difference in your results. Coffee taste can change dramatically after it cools.
- Once you have sniffed and tasted all coffees hot, warm, and at room temperature, you are finished.
Have you cupped our Kopi Luwak against other specialty coffees? If so, tells us about your experience in the comments below!