For the next three days I am in Marin County, California, teaching a class at Boot Coffee Consulting. The course is called Roast Profiling and Cupping. It combines information on sensory analysis, heat-transfer dynamics, and artisan roasting techniques.
The first day of this class begins with, well, coffee of course. Once everyone's acclimated to the lab, where we have several different sample roasters, brewing equipment, an AV set-up, cupping lab, coffee library, etc, we start with a lot of theory. What's the difference between convection, conduction, and radiation when it comes to the development of coffee during the roasting process? How does processing affect the way beans of different densities absorb heat?
Then we dive right into sensory analysis. We do sessions with nuts, dried fruits, chocolates, apples of different acidity levels and sweetness levels, fruits with different kinds of mouthfeel. All this is leading into the really important stuff: the sensory analysis of coffee. Cupping, that is.
We cover cupping vocabulary, cupping protocols, cupping technique, and we do LOTS of triangulation exercises to put people through their paces. And that's all just day one.
Day two and day three involve a lot more theory, but mainly it's about roasting and cupping, and roasting and cupping, and roasting and cupping. I teach or help teach this class several times each year. We have roasters from all over the world come to learn and practice. This class has folks from California, New York, Wisconsin, Seattle, Massachusettes, Australia, and Singapore.
This week we set up a canopy outside because of the heat in Northern California. Students are starting to arrive right now as I type this. Time to go!