Coffee flavors are great and the reason why so many people love coffee. And it’s amazing that coffee contains minimum two times as many flavor compounds as wine. You can find flavors that are reminiscent of blueberry, apricot, butterscotch, maple syrup, green apple, bergamot, peach, citrus, strawberry, toffee, chocolate, nuts, grapes, and so on. But too many people, even so-called coffee professionals, are struggling. Why on earth do I not taste the aroma of this coffee? I don’t get the blueberry! Is something wrong with me? And the reason why is quite simple: you never learned it. So when regular people are going to a nice Third Wave Coffee Shop, coffee aroma must be something like fake news.
We never learnt how to taste in school
The sense of taste is something, that we all should have learnt when we were kids at school. But the reality is, that we do know the highest mountain on earth, but don’t have an idea what a blueberry really taste like. To get to know the highest mountain without school we could relaxing on our couch and watch an awesome 4K documentation on Netflix. But there is way more effort necessary to learn how to taste coffee. Of course, you could book a cupping course and you definitely should do that. Here you (should) get all the theoretical basics you need to understand, how and where you taste coffee. But don’t expect to be an expert after one course. Our mind needs something like a database for all these flavors. So as long you associate a coffee with blueberry notes with a wonderful yummy bagel or pancake you know what to do.
No more fake news with coffee aroma
It took quite a long time to me to really taste coffee. As I’m more addicted to coffee business strategies, I honestly still wouldn’t call myself a cupping expert. But whether you are a professional or private person, here is some helpful information on what you could do, to really taste coffee one day:
1. Working for a coffee company: That’s probably the best and for sure no surprise to you. Tasting coffee and get money for it is always a great idea, right? But seriously, if you are cupping coffee almost everyday, you really get to know the stuff.
2. Buy yourself a coffee aroma kit: In addition to coffee cupping, that’s probably the best you can do, when you don’t want to work in the coffee industry. A coffee aroma kit has the most representative flavors contained in coffee. The bad news: it’s around $300.
3. Go to open cuppings: More and more roasters presenting their great coffees in so-called open cuppings. Usually they are free. So you just go there, get some interesting information about coffee, talk to other people and have a good time.
4. Cupping at home: Go to your local roaster and ask him to get some samples. If you tell him, that you want to have a private cupping at home, he will select some nice coffees with different aromas for you. Always keep in mind: taste becomes accessible when you compare different coffees with each other.
5. Find a local coffee community: The coffee community is huge and great. Maybe you have a local community at your hometown? If not, you could establish a local coffee group on facebook and organize private or public coffee events.
6. Reading a good book: The Coffee Cupper’s Handbook is a great help. The handbook published by the Speciality Coffee Association is a systematic guide to the sensory evaluation of the flavor of coffee. Here is a good place to find all the basic information you need about cupping.
Last but not least
In order to really enjoy coffee aroma, comparing and practicing is the key. The journey might be long and expensive. But when you enjoy great coffee at home, f.ex. an outstanding Geisha coffee, you’ll have even more fun with great coffee on a lifelong-basis.