Cupping with Trish Rothgeb

Can coffee really taste the same as juicy peach or 90% dark chocolate? It can be baffling to some of us when people describe their coffee with very specific terms.

Here are 4 basic tips on how to start appreciating your black coffee more like a pro:

1. Always drink with an open mind. Believe in black coffee; it can taste more than just bitter, but try to be informed on what coffee you are drinking, where is it from, how fresh is it etc.

2. Try to break down every sip into basic sensory elements such as sweetness, bitterness, acidity, aroma, body, and aftertaste. Yes, black coffee can be sweet without the sugar, depending on our detection threshold.

3. Don’t overthink it. It’s okay to use intuition when it comes to teasing out flavours. Does it remind you of any food that you are familiar with when it first hit the tongue? What you describe doesn’t have to be on the Flavour Wheel or anything official.

4. Ask yourself specifically what you like or dislike about the coffee you’re drinking. We can be quite particular when it comes to our personal preferences. Then try to share and compare your evaluation with a barista or a coffee professional to gain better insight and references as you go along.

Here're some pictures of our roaster recently attending a master class, at Bettr Barista, Singapore, led by Trish Rothgeb (Director, Coffee Quality Institute) to learn about SCAA’s new Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel; revised for the first time in over 20 years. It is a good tool for sensory training and as a general reference when cupping for what a coffee has to offer.

Rave KwokComment