I am a Cup Taster!

Cup TastingCup Tasting. The relaxed art of sipping a cup of brewed coffee and determining which country it comes from. Like tasting a fine glass of Pinot Grigio or Malbec. Right? Wrong! Cup Tasting, or cupping, is quite an elegant term given to the process of slurping brewed coffee, and then identifying a bunch of things relating to tastes and aromas – sweet, bitter, fruity, floral, nutty, chocolaty, spicy. You get the picture and if not, there are plenty of courses that introduce the speciatly coffee SCAA Flavor Wheel to help you out and to train your sensory skills.

Cup Tasting is fascinating. The more you taste, the more you discover and learn! You enter into the world of specialty coffee, where it’s like taking a journey to the land that has produced the coffee beans without physically travelling over there. It enhances the coffee drinking experience. Every cup of coffee you drink has gone through hours of cup tasting and grading from qualified cup tasters from around the world. These guys and gals are serious about the coffee slurping and if they do their job well, we can also thank them for the coffee drinking joy ride.

After 4 years of tasting and rating espresso, I made the brave decision to participate in the Swiss Cup Tasters Championship which took place in Basel on 2. October. It was on my 2016 coffee bucket list. As a first timer, I was extremely nervous.  I knew I was the outsider and would be sharing the stage with qualified cup tasters from companies including Algrano, Delica, Henauer, Kafischmitte, Keurig, and Nespresso. After completing some cup taster training from one of Switzerland’s finest, Philip Meier, and reading through the rules and calming myself that I didn’t have to identify the country of origin of the coffees, I focused on keeping my taste-buds fresh, keeping my nerves in check and having fun – because that is was it’s all about!

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What a World Barista Championship 2016!

WBC Dublin

Dublin. Home of U2, Guiness, The Script, Paddy AND the World Barista Championship (WBC) 2016. From June 22-25, the coffee world gathered in the heart of Dublin to experience the coffee event of the year. As Baristas and Judges from all over the world made their way to Dublin to participate in the prestigious championship, I packed my most comfortable shoes and made my final preparations to be one of the 240 volunteers at the week long event. Questions, check. Access to the internet, check. iPhone charger – oops knew I forgot something! A small hurdle in what was to be one of the most active, exciting, information filled, exhausting, memorable coffee experiences I have had to date. Continue reading