Have you got around to trying the SurfAid and Allpress single-origin coffee yet? We had the pleasure of working with our friends at Allpress Espresso on this special roast in honour of SurfAid’s 20th Anniversary. Harvested in Sumatra, Indonesia using the natural process method, this coffee is full-bodied and fruity with little acidity. 

Sure, you probably taste coffee daily but when was the last time you really tasted your coffee? Tasting coffee is not just for baristas and coffee connoisseurs, it’s for everyone! Taking time to evaluate your coffee will help you develop your palate, decipher the types of coffees you’re into and it’s actually kind of fun. 

Tasting coffee, AKA cupping, can be as professional or relaxed as you want. You could spend a whole afternoon with five different coffees in front of you and score them on official tasting cards or you could take these pointers and start with your Allpress and SurfAid Sumatra Coffee.

Here’s what you want to do:

  • Start with your nose. Smell the coffee. If the scent is favourable to you, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy the flavour. 
  • Take a sip. But don’t just swallow it! Swish it and chew it, ensuring it hits all your tastebuds. 
  • Get descriptive. What comes to your mind in terms of flavours? Do you like the way it tastes? What is it that you like and dislike about it?

Six elements to breaking down the taste of coffee:

  1. Intensity versus quality. It’s important to factor these measurements into your tasting. You need to consider both the intensity of the flavour in addition to its quality. For instance, the coffee could have an intense chocolate flavour but the quality is poor.
  2. Acidity. When it comes to acidity, you’ll want to distinguish between fresh/crisp versus sour/salivating. To help identify the acidity, pay attention to how the coffee tastes along the sides of your tongue.
  3. Sweetness. There’s no sugar in coffee – unless you add a sweetener to it and in that case, it’s pretty noticeable. That being said, coffee on its own can have an essence of sweetness to it. The sweetness will come from the ripeness of the fruit from which the coffee was harvested and can be impacted by harvesting, roasting and brewing.  
  4. Body. How does the coffee feel in your mouth? An often looked-over element in tasting, this is equally as important as acidity and sweetness. You can help identify coffee’s body within its weight and texture. Is it light? Is it heavy? Think of the difference between skim milk and full cream milk when making the call. 
  5. Finish. Once you’ve taken a sip, you’re not done. What happens after you swallow the coffee? What are you left with? Do the flavours build? Is there a bad aftertaste? Does the flavour just disappear completely? Take your time with this to decide how you feel. 
  6. Flavour. Don’t get caught up on identifying the one thing that this coffee is meant to taste like as it is dependent on many elements such as how it was roasted or water temperatures when brewing and it can be limiting in your coffee tasting. 

Instead, use a couple common groups of flavours to describe the coffee. If you’re really keen on the possibilities, use a flavour wheel in your tasting adventure. Otherwise keep it simple and stick to the below categories:

  • Fruity. Tied to acidity, this is a common flavour takeaway for coffee that works on a spectrum from fresh fruit to cooked fruit to ferments/tropical fruits. For reference, a higher acidity will typically be linked to fresh fruits whereas lower acidity would be on the cooked fruit end of the spectrum. 
  • Caramelisation. This flavour encompasses things that have been baked. Think caramels, toffees, chocolates and anything that has been roasted or toasted.

When tasting coffee, note the first descriptors that pop into your head. There are no right or wrong answers. Think about the above elements and what sticks out. What do you like about the taste? What don’t you like? Is there a particular sweetness you enjoy about it? Is it too acidic? Is the flavour too woody or earthy? 

As mentioned above, coffee taste is dependent on a myriad of factors including harvesting methods, roasting methods and brewing. Perhaps the most notable of factors is where the beans come from. Coffee from Sumatra, Indonesia is known to be rich and creamy.

When you get a bag of the SurfAid and Allpress coffee, you can expect to taste the delicious, earthy, chocolatey, herbal and spicy flavours that make Sumatra coffee unique all whilst knowing you’re contributing to a great cause! Get yours at here!