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How do I know what the cup is SUPPOSE to taste like?
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Catallus
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Jan 2012
Posts: 20
Location: USA
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Thu Jul 19, 2012, 7:08am
Subject: How do I know what the cup is SUPPOSE to taste like?
 

Of all the coffee I drink and taste, I don't really know what they are suppose to taste like.

I use my V60 at home and purchase some fresh quality beans but I never know what my cup is suppose to be like.

Should I learn how to cup? Cup the beans before I start brewing the batch? I'm have a trouble knowing what to adjust.  I don't know how to tell if it's over/under-extracted, if it's something about my pour, or temperature, or grind.  

What do you guys recommend? Any good reading material or exercises I can do?
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JKalpin
Senior Member
JKalpin
Joined: 28 Dec 2008
Posts: 786
Location: Thornhill, Ontario Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Aerobie Aeropress
Grinder: Baratza Maestro Plus
Vac Pot: Yama 5-Cup
Drip: Krups Moka Brew, BraZen
Roaster: Freshroast+8, Behmor 1600
Posted Thu Jul 19, 2012, 1:50pm
Subject: Re: How do I know what the cup is SUPPOSE to taste like?
 

This is NOT a dumb question ...!!

When I buy (or roast) and brew using several kinds of coffee (and brewers) I often lose track of 'where' the cup should be.  With a program of continuous improvement I often end up with coffee that is ...not bitter ...not sour ...just too intense.  

I go to a good coffee-house a few times a week.  What I mean by 'good' is not best ever; I mean 'consistent'.  They make a decent brew consistently, week after week, and that keeps me adjusted to where I currently am.

 
Jerry
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Sam21
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Sep 2011
Posts: 409
Location: Northwest, CT
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso, LIDO,...
Vac Pot: Siphon, Aeropress, CCD
Drip: Kalita Wave, Beehouse,...
Roaster: Hottop KN-8828B-2K
Posted Thu Jul 19, 2012, 6:13pm
Subject: Re: How do I know what the cup is SUPPOSE to taste like?
 

Great question and one that I wrestled with when starting out! A great way to gauge your tastes and what coffee can be is to try some professionally made cups from a quality cafe.

In the time being, go by what tastes good to you. A good cup will have noticeable tang or acidity and sweetness. These components will vary greatly based on the bean. For the V60, I highly recommend Terroir's V60 method as an easy starting point. To judge the resulting cup, the first question should be, "Does this taste good?" If so, great! If not, "Does it taste weak?" If so, grind finer and use the same method again. If it tastes strong and very bitter, grind coarser and repeat. You'll get it with some practice - just brew an enjoy an tweak as you go. The journey towards what coffee can truly be is a fun one. Enjoy it and feel free to email me with any questions, as I love my V60!

Sam
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cerridwyn
Senior Member
cerridwyn
Joined: 6 Jun 2010
Posts: 492
Location: Inland Empire California
Expertise: I live coffee
Posted Thu Jul 19, 2012, 9:15pm
Subject: Re: How do I know what the cup is SUPPOSE to taste like?
 

Buy your beans from a good third wave roaster and see what they say they should taste like. Have one of their barista's make you a cup and tell you about what they taste, and if you like it, buy it and see what you can do with it.

I often go into a place that makes coffee more than one way, pick the coffee I want and say "Barista's choice". If they automatically go to their trifecta, and I ask why that makes it a better brew, most can't answer me, and after that I know the roaster may do good, but the baristas are just doing what they have been told.

Smaller, slightly less busy places will often talk to you more. They'll talk about regional differences, how washing impacts the beans, and it might make your head spin, the first time. But when the Barista knows their coffee, you will taste the difference and have a baseline on where to start.

 
The world needs more outstanding coffee.

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JPDyson
Senior Member
JPDyson
Joined: 12 Apr 2011
Posts: 417
Location: Durham, NC
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Virtuoso
Vac Pot: Yama tc5
Drip: V60, Bonmac, Chemex
Roaster: Behmor, Poppery II
Posted Fri Jul 20, 2012, 5:53am
Subject: Re: How do I know what the cup is SUPPOSE to taste like?
 

We have a couple of coffee shops in the Raleigh/Durham area that have a business relationship with their roaster/supplier, Counter Culture Coffee. I find the baristas are quite well-informed, and almost never wrong. Now, their training is very much brewing and shot pulling, so they're not roasting experts, but they can hand you a cup of coffee that's (for lack of a better term) "right".

I use these places to calibrate my senses periodically. It's cheaper (and more fun) than a refractometer.

 
--Josh
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Catallus
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Jan 2012
Posts: 20
Location: USA
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Jul 20, 2012, 10:19am
Subject: Re: How do I know what the cup is SUPPOSE to taste like?
 

Yeah, my area has a bunch of third wave shops that I frequently visit. However, I don't usually always purchase their beans (and I usually just get espressos).

The thing is that it sort of limits your bean purchase. But I get what you guys are saying.  I'm hoping sometime in the future I can go to some Counter Culture or Intelligentsia classes to really get some feedback and instruction.

For now?  I play around with a $18 12 oz bag of coffee, sometimes laughing at the note description as I try to find that papaya, lycheee, peach complexity and waiting for that tangerine finish.

:)
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Java_Jiver
Senior Member
Java_Jiver
Joined: 3 Nov 2010
Posts: 132
Location: Baton Rouge
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Capresso Infinity
Drip: Technivorm 741
Posted Fri Jul 20, 2012, 10:33am
Subject: Re: How do I know what the cup is SUPPOSE to taste like?
 

In reality, it all comes down to personal preference. What some professional brewer tastes good doesn't necessarily mean that any individual coffee enthusiast is going to agree with what he has said. It's very much like watching cooking shows on PBS or the food channel; if you are at all accomplished in your own cooking, it won't take you long to determine whether the recipe will be to your liking.

Over the past decade I've had some very wonderful coffees from scores of small roasters who take great pride in their wares. Sadly, none of them have tasted exactly how I would want them to taste, but it is simple enough to relate the sellers' descriptions to the taste that results. Everything matters, but in truth you're on your own.
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Sam21
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Sep 2011
Posts: 409
Location: Northwest, CT
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso, LIDO,...
Vac Pot: Siphon, Aeropress, CCD
Drip: Kalita Wave, Beehouse,...
Roaster: Hottop KN-8828B-2K
Posted Fri Jul 20, 2012, 10:42am
Subject: Re: How do I know what the cup is SUPPOSE to taste like?
 

Catallus Said:

Yeah, my area has a bunch of third wave shops that I frequently visit. However, I don't usually always purchase their beans (and I usually just get espressos).

The thing is that it sort of limits your bean purchase. But I get what you guys are saying.  I'm hoping sometime in the future I can go to some Counter Culture or Intelligentsia classes to really get some feedback and instruction.

For now?  I play around with a $18 12 oz bag of coffee, sometimes laughing at the note description as I try to find that papaya, lycheee, peach complexity and waiting for that tangerine finish.

:)

Posted July 20, 2012 link

It takes a good deal of palate experience to pull such delicate flavors from a cup. Start small. Is the cup sweet? If so, can you define the sweetness as fruity, caramelly, or bittersweet? Just start with general descriptions and over time your taste buds will become far more experienced and quick to pick up on aspects of the cup!
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CraigJS
Senior Member


Joined: 8 May 2011
Posts: 66
Location: Minnesota, USA
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Baratza M plus
Drip: filter cone, FP, Moka
Posted Sat Jul 21, 2012, 4:31pm
Subject: Re: How do I know what the cup is SUPPOSE to taste like?
 

You don't have to be anal about things to enjoy coffee. As said earlier, if you like it, it's a good cup. Not all tastes are the same.I'd rather drink my coffee, than hover over it like an exspectant father. YES I love good coffee. Is it the "proper" taste? Who cares if I'M satisfied?? ENJOY it.....
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Netphilosopher
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jan 2011
Posts: 1,602
Location: USA
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sun Jul 22, 2012, 12:16pm
Subject: ...
 

...
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