Improving Your Coffee Palate

For anyone entering the coffee scene for the first time, coffee tasting (aka cupping) can be a somewhat intimidating experience. Confident baristas slurp their way around a table before making crazy in-depth and varying descriptions of what to the new comer all seem to be similar coffee beverages.

There is really only one way to get good at tasting and talking about flavours in coffee and it’s all about the practice!

Tasting lime for barista course sydneyHere are a couple of simple, fun and cost effective exercises that you can do to get better at tasting:

1. Aroma Test

There is a pricey kit you can buy called ‘Le Nez Du Café’ which will guide you through all the aromas found in coffee. A fun and cost effective way to reproduce this with your staff is to simply put a range of different fruits, nuts, chocolate & spices into separate cups. Whilst wearing a blind-fold smell each cup and write down what you think the contents is.

2. The Balance Test

Make three separate solutions of water each containing either 0.5% of salt, sugar or citric acid (you can use lemon juice). Once you have your solutions ready set-up 9 cups in groups of three (we call this triangulation).

Fill the cups using different amounts of the solutions as follows:

Set 1

Cup1 – 100% Sugar

Cup2 – 70%Sugar/30%Salt

Cup3 – 70%Citric/30%Sugar

Set 2

Cup1 – 100% Salt

Cup2 – 70%Salt/30%Citric

Cup3 – 70%Sugar/30%Citric

Set 3

Cup1 – 100% Citric

Cup2 – 70%Citric/30%sugar

Cup3 – 70%Salt/30%Sugar

This exercise will help us determine whether a coffee is balanced and give us an indication of what is going on in our extraction as well as what we can do to improve the balance of the cup.

At Black Market Roasters, we are constantly training and building on our knowledge. We share this knowledge at our Barista Course here in Sydney as well as at coffee events through out the year. As a small batch Sydney coffee roaster, we love sharing our knowledge and learning from you, so Join The Black Market today!


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