With plenty of new coffee roasters and independent coffee shops in town, coffee tastings are becoming more popular than ever.
And much like tasting beers at a brewery, tasting coffee at a shop gives its drinkers the opportunity to both taste and contrast a number of different coffees, and to try ones that have been brewed with consistent and proper technique.
Most coffee shops utilize the pour-over method for tastings, as it is one of the easiest brewing methods to use for a number of coffees and typically provides the most balance. Some coffee shops may use the term "cupping" to refer to tasting. But Joel Finkelstein, owner and main roaster at Qualia Coffee, notes a difference in this terminology. "Cuppings are a coffee industry standard method for assessing coffee (not necessarily for enjoying it). It requires a very precise brewing and sampling technique that is not readily accessible to the person off the street. In contrast, a tasting simply presents an opportunity for the public to try several different coffees side-by-side."
For cuppings, Finkelstein notes, the coffee is slurped from a spoon to help distribute the coffee all over the mouth. This same technique can be used for tastings, in which coffee is swished around the mouth in a way similar to wine tasting. "The flavors of the coffee change as it cools, so we usually urge folks to take small sips as the coffee cools," Finkelstein explains.
More cupping options in the area are on the way: Commonwealth Joe Coffee Roasters in Arlington plans to host them starting in January. La Colombe also periodically hosts public cupping events at its various location, though no dates were immediately available.Read More