A few weeks back we hosted a curated cupping evening showcasing some delicious geisha beans, here's a piece by our super talented sales exec Joshua Liew as he attends his first CMCR curated cupping.
'Being the first curated cupping session I’ve been to, it was definitely an eye opener.
The crowd started rolling in one hour before the event started, many were standing outside the café while we prepared the event. There was so much excitement in the air; there were people looking forward to tasting the rare geishas and many others were just curious about what curated cupping was like, myself included.
The session started with greetings and welcoming, which broke the ‘tense’ atmosphere. Our head trainer, Lucky Salvador, gave us a little bit of history about geisha beans, Panama and Costa Rica; and also the different kind of varietals, processing methods being used here. There was a whole heaps of coffee-geek terms being thrown around but everyone seemed to have no problem understanding them.
One could see eyes being lit up when Lucky finished, and that was because it was TASTING TIME! The air started to buzz with excitement, everyone was chatting away while the CMCR crew started weighting and grinding the precious goods.
Cupping bowls were being lay down on the tables, cupping spoons were being passed around and some people had even brought their own personal ones. Enthusiasts started picking the bowls up and the sniffing began.
There are three stages of sensory engagement in a cupping session: dry aroma, wet aroma and then the actually tasting of coffee.
Firstly, for dry aroma. As the name suggests you are meant to start by smelling the aroma of the freshly ground beans, repetitively shaking and sniffing the ground.
The second stage of the sensory engagement is to wet the grounds and smell the changing aroma, hence it is called wet aroma. To do this we pour hot water (94-97 degrees) to the brims of the cups and let it sit for four minutes. At the end of four minutes, one will gently ‘break’ the crust that has formed on the top by gently pushing the floating coffee grounds at the surface of the backwards a few times. During the breaking of crust, it releases an aroma, different from the freshly dry grounds.
We then gently scoop the rest of the surface crush out of the cup, any hash action might cause more extraction and hence more inconsistence across the cups. Once the timer hits ten minutes, we are ready to slurp away!
This is the fun part and creates a lot of noise around the cafe as people slurp away. There is a definite technique to coffee cupping, and it is something to get used. First scoop the surface coffee of the cup and then slurp it forcefully from the edge of the scoop. The aim is to get air into the coffee and make sure all your taste buds are able to pick up on the flavours. I like to then inhale a lung full of oxygen, then push the air out slowly via my nostril and enjoy the flavours of the coffee. You can read more about why we cup in this article.
Slurping loudly is normally deemed socially unacceptable, rude or unpolished but in cupping sessions, I say the louder the better! Everyone was enjoying themselves, dipping their spoons back into the same small cup multiply times to savor that sweet ‘nectar’, to a point there was hardly any coffee left in the cupping bowls for everyone to have a go.
Discussion brewed slowly in the air, everyone was guessing the flavour profile, tasting notes and processing methods, narrowing down to their favourite cup and sharing their experience with one another.
When the session ended, the crowd dispersed with a few people mingling around contemplating on the evening and the new flavours they had experienced. What I took away from it was that by building and pushing of boundaries of the coffee you find new and exciting flavours and experiences which is the whole spirit of a curated cupping.'
Look out for us in the new year as we bring you more curated cuppings and adventures for your palette!