I learned about a special skill yesterday: coffee cupping.
It's no secret that both of my brothers are experienced baristas and excellent at what they do. When they get together, coffee is bound to come up (as is theology). One of the things I had heard them talk about before was something called "cupping". Curious, I asked if Tyler could show me how it worked one day.
Yesterday, even after a full day of work and coffee-making at Intelligentsia, Tyler put on the hot water kettle once more for a coffee cupping.
It's a more complex system than I realized, and it makes me appreciate all that Caleb and Tyler know about coffee. We brewed 5 different types of coffee and went through each step of the cupping process. I am by no means an expert at this, so it was funny trying to smell different flavor notes and rate acidity and sweetness of the coffee. Tyler is the one who really knows what he's doing! But I loved trying and realizing that it's actually more objective than I thought was possible. Tyler and I ended up with similar results (though his were much more refined).
This is a handy flavor wheel to determine what notes are present in each coffee.
Each coffee is scored according to specific criteria. It's quite the art, actually! Thanks for teaching me, Tyler! Maybe I'm on my way towards a more refined coffee palate. Until then, I'll just keep enjoying what you make and trust your judgment!