I love smelling good things. Especially coffee.
This has been a long-time hobby for me – when I was a kid tagging along with my mom at the supermarket, I’d collect beans that had fallen onto the tray underneath the bulk coffee bins, bring them home, label them based on variety, and add them to my coffee collection. I’d delight in going through my collection and sniffing each bean to experience the world of Pumpkin or French Vanilla or Dark Roast.
It was fun until I got a coffee bean stuck up my nose.
Given my coffee-sniffing childhood habit, it’s only predictable that I’d end up at a New Harvest cupping. A coffee cupping is basically a coffee tasting, but unless you’re a coffee professional, it’s probably different than your usual coffee experience.
A cupping is a very precise ritual: First, the grounds are weighed and placed in small bowls. We smelled the grounds dry for an initial impression. Then, water is heated to the perfect temperature and poured over the grounds using a pourover kettle, after which we waited for a specific amount of time.
Once the coffee had steeped, we were told to drag a spoon through the crust of grounds on the surface while inhaling the aroma. Breaking the crust releases all the fragrant aroma compounds.
After we all put our noses to the grind (sorry), we skimmed the grounds off the top and started tasting. The best way to taste is to slurp the coffee out of a spoon, similar to wine tasting. Slurping aerates the coffee, releasing more flavor.
I loved this experience because I learned more about my own coffee preferences and also got some insight into how New Harvest purchases and roasts the beans. Best of all, I managed to keep the coffee beans out of my nose.
If you’d like to experience a coffee cupping, New Harvest has one almost every Friday at 3pm. For more details, see their public classes page.