Grinders Coffee launches public cupping sessions

Grinders Coffee cupping

Grinders Coffee has begun holding public cupping sessions to educate consumers about what goes on behind the scenes to make great coffee.

From the farmer to the roaster, a lot of work goes into producing coffee to keep it consistent and at a good quality. To teach this to the public, Grinders Coffee has introduced a new series of public cupping sessions, the first of which took place at its Lygon Street café in Melbourne on 23 October, 2019.

“If the consumer knows what to look out for, they’ll be better able to acknowledge, identify, and buy good coffee,” says Alec Zeta, Training Manager and Coffee Specialist at Grinders Coffee. “The more you educate people, the more they lean towards change, and the less they’re educated, the harder it is to break habits.”

The October cupping session began with a summary of the work done by producers and roasters before coffee reaches the café. This included how farmers identify ripe cherries, pulp and process coffee, and steps taken before a roaster or trader buys it. 

“This gave the audience an understanding of what the process is when it comes to specialty coffee and an appreciation of the farmer’s effort,” Alec says. “The farmer does a lot to produce a good bean to deliver to Australia. We’ve noticed the more you educate consumers on the work of the farmer, the more they appreciate the coffee.”

The cupping focused on Grinders’ blends, highlighting the different profiles and characteristics of the dark chocolatey Classic, nutty Foundation, fruity and smooth Source, and high-end SoCo Roasters Society Blend. The floral Zambian coffee that contributes to more than half of the Society Blend was also presented as a single origin, allowing attendees to experience the differences between the two.

Grinders Coffee cupping
Grinders uses four of its blends to highlight different flavour profiles.

“This allowed us to go into the purpose of a blend, how some are made to work with milk, and why you’d add other beans to achieve a certain body or flavour,” Alec says. “The variety of coffees gave them a reference of how a bolder or lighter blend should taste, the characteristics of different beans, how they taste when combined as a blend, and what they’re like when served on their own.”

After the fragrances of the dry coffees were sniffed by the attendees, they were brewed at a ratio of 12.5 grams to 230 millilitres of 93°C water. When ready, Alec demonstrated how to break the crust and take in the aroma before allowing participants to try it themselves. They then took turns slurping the coffees and identifying certain flavours.

“Cupping breaks down the flavour much more than we’d be able to demonstrate with espresso. It’s also more consistent than espresso tasting, where there are multiple variables that can affect the flavour,” Alec says.

“This session was actually pretty similar to our quality control at Grinders, where each batch we roast is cupped and graded individually, then a sample is kept for comparison in case there are any issues.”

While the introductory session focused on tasting different blends, Alec says there is more to cupping, and future sessions will highlight the different flavour profiles of single origins and defects in certain coffees.

“Everything comes down to what we do at the backend – to show the public the extra mile everyone goes to while producing great coffee,” Alec says.

“Across Australia, but specifically in Melbourne, there’s such a good coffee culture, but a lot of people don’t know what they’re looking for when it comes to a good cup of coffee. Showing them will help them differentiate from cup to cup.” 

This article appears in the December 2019 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.

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