14 October 2015

Coffee Tasting and Coffee Cupping: Bali Vintage Klasik, Espresso Roast, Guatemala Antigua

I am invited to do coffee cupping and coffee tasting of several coffees at the Starbucks Coffee Reserve Store in Grand Indonesia Shopping Town, Jakarta, Indonesia. So what is the difference between coffee cupping and coffee tasting? I have my own definition about them.  

Coffee cupping is the techniques or practices of observing and evaluating the taste, the aroma, the flavor and the profile of (brewed) coffee. To understand the differences of the coffees, it is necessary for the cuppers - the experts in cupping the coffee - to taste the coffees side-by-side. Cupping is also used to evaluate a defective coffee or to create coffee blends.

If coffee cupping needs two or more coffees to be observed and evaluated, then coffee tasting can be done with only one coffee to be tasted and reviewed. Well, this is only my own opinion. 

OK, let's start to explore the coffees! 

Coffee Tasting: Bali Vintage Klasik 

Bali Vintage Klasik coffee beans come from three villages in Kintamani, Bali, Indonesia. Kintamani is located near Batur Mountain in Bali, and is also used as a place to view the mountain. The villages are located in a cool highlands, and they are ideal for coffee production. The coffee beans are dry hulled and fully washed.

Dry hulled method is a simple and traditional method by using hands. In this process, the coffee cherry is picked from the tree and dried directly in the sun without peeling the skin. The dried coffee cherry turns to dark brown one, and the green seed is torn out from the skin and parchment layers by hand. All defects must be removed visually by hand. The profile of the dry process coffee is to have more body and lower acidity. 

Fully washed process means that the coffee cherry that has been fermented for several days is washed thoroughly to remove all traces of fermented mucilage. It is dried until the bean inside reaches its perfect moisture. This process can produce flavor characteristics that are brighter and lighter. 

Dry hulled method and fully washed process are traditionally known by coffee farmers in Indonesia.

Will the dry hulled method and full washed process make a difference? Let's see my tasting result below.   

  • Compare to other Indonesian coffees, the aroma of Bali Vintage Klasik is lighter and sweeter. 
  • The taste is light to medium with low acidity. The low acidity means that this coffee is also good for people with digestion problems. 
  • The taste is a combination between lime and toasted peanuts tastes, with brown sugar between them.

I suggest that the Bali Vintage Klasik is taken as a single drink without any additional milk and sugar. The milk and sugar will kill the taste of the coffee. 

Coffee Cupping: Espresso Roast vs. Guatemala Antigua 

Espresso Roast, created in 1970s, is the signature flavor of Starbuck espresso beverages. Espresso Roast coffee beans come from multi regions, while Guatemala Antigua coffee beans come from Latin America. The process method of both coffee beans are washed. While Espresso Roast can be made in espresso shots, lattes, French Press or brewer; the Guatemala Antigua is preferred to be made in espresso only. 

What is the difference between Espresso Roast and Guatemala Antigua? Let's see if my cupping result below is correct.

  • The color of Espresso Roast coffee beans is darker than the Guatemala Antigua coffee beans. It means the Espresso Roast is roasted a bit longer than the Guatemala Antigua. 
  • The flavor or Espresso Roast coffee is roasted caramel, while the flavor of Guatemala Antigua coffee is nutty. 
  • The acidity of both coffees are medium. It means that the profile of both coffees is a bit tastier and still have anti-oxidant properties. 
  • The body of Espresso Roast coffee is bolder than Guatemala Antigua coffee. It means Espresso Roast coffee tastes stronger than Guatemala Antigua. 
  • The taste of Espresso Roast coffee is like dark chocolate, while the taste of Guatemala Antigua coffee is like a fried peanuts. 

My prediction is that the Espresso Roast coffee can be taken as both single coffee drink and caffe latte (with milk, sugar and other syrups), and the Guatemala Antigua should be taken as a single coffee drink without milk or even sugar. 

Is my prediction right? So, what does happen when Espresso Roast and Guatemala Antigua are added with milk? 

Let's see the result! 

The Espresso Roast that is added with milk becomes Caffe Latte, and the Guatemala Antigua that is added with milk becomes Guatemala Antigua Caffe Latte. 
In my own opinion, the Caffe Latte has more taste than the Guatemala Antigua Caffe Latte. It is sad that Guatemala Antigua Caffe Latte tastes very plain in my mouth. So, my prediction is right that Guatemala Antigua should be taken as a single coffee drink without milk or even sugar and syrups. 

Have a great coffee, everyone! 

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