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How to taste and compare single origin, or any different coffee, at home.

Each and every coffee bean has a unique taste. This opens up an interesting new world for coffee lovers.

Equipment and materials needed.

You will need a grinder or ground coffee, the grinder is preferable as coffee loses flavour immediately after grinding and by grinding your own you are assured of freshness and full taste. For home tasting a glass will do but we recommend that you have two 250 ml or larger, plungers, sometimes referred to as a French Press or a Bodum. Even though this might not be the way you prepare your morning brew, this is the better way to taste-test.

You will need a kettle in order to boil water and also a kitchen scale which is able to weigh small quantities. Have a glass measuring jug nearby which can measure 180 ml and also some filtered water. The water might not seem important but some municipal tap waters do have a quite  distinct mineral or chemical aftertaste. Remember that your prepared coffee is made up primarily of water and if this has a foul taste, it will be impossible to prepare a good brew.

Home coffee tasting a step by step guide

Choose a medium or lighter roast for your tasting. The deeper the bean is roasted such as Dark; Italian; Viennese; espresso roast etc., the more dominant the roast or “cooking flavour” is over the natural “bean flavour”.

1. Grind the coffee to a ‘sand-like’ grind, ‘salt-like’ is one step too fine. Measure out 10 g (not less than 9 g and not more than 11 g) of each of the two coffees you are tasting.

2. Boil your kettle and pour 180 ml into your measuring jug (this will also bring the water off the boil) and then pour this over the ground coffee either a plunger or a large rimmed glass.

Plunger or, if not available, use a wide rimmed glass:

3. Stir the coffee frequently to encourage the dissolving process and then allow the grounds to rise to the top. Allow to cool a little more and agitate the layer of ground coffee or scoop it up with a soup-spoon to allow you to savour the aroma. Breath it in deeply and appreciate it. Give this a mark out of five, 0/5 being a horrible smell and 5/5 being an appealing aroma that makes you really look forward to the tasting itself.

4. If you have a plunger, now is the time to depress it slowly, if not, scoop as much of the ground coffee off the top of the glass as you can with your soup-spoon.

5. Using a half-filled soup spoon, suck some air and some coffee into all the areas of your mouth by spraying it around … schlurrp loudly as loud, somewhat rude noises are acceptable. This will coat your whole mouth and you will pick up sweetness; bitterness and flavour. Look for the basics such as chocolate; citrus; honey or berries.

6. Assess three additional things: flavour, body or mouth-feel, and after-taste. Add up your score but double the score you awarded for flavour (this being more important) and you will get to a total number out of a possible 25. and give them each a mark.

Do not stress if you are unable to pick up individual flavours such as berries; citrus; honey or others. Coffee tasting takes many years of practice. Do however base your tasting on what you like or don’t like…more often than not, this is all you need. Remember also that you are here to enjoy the wonderful world of coffee and to have fun while you do this!

Hand brewing Hand brewing

It can be a lot of fun to sit down with a friend or partner and compare the flavours of different beans or even design your own blend.