Are Coffee Cuppings the New Wine Tasting
From one of my favourite websites, Slashfood:
There's a pretty interesting story in the New York Times about the prevalence of coffee "cuppings" - basically wine tastings for java, minus the spitting. Aficionados sit around discussing different roasts, trying to find the right words to describe the subtle flavors of a cup of Kenyan or Guatemalan roast.
"Now, I drink coffee every day, usually multiple cups, black. Aside from water, it's probably the single consumable I have most regularly. But while I can certainly taste the difference between the watery, acidic, sewage brown stuff sold in most gas stations and a good French roast, that's about where it ends. When people tell me they drive half an hour for special beans or they 'hate' the (to me) perfectly ordinary cappuccinos at my local cafe, I just shrug. I mean, I'm willing to believe that other people have the ability to discern flavors I can't sense. But is a bag of beans from a single farm lot discernibly different than beans from a handful of farms in the same region? In a town with dozens of independent coffee shops, is it really plausible that one has the absolute 'best' coffee?"