Cuppers are the professionals who taste the coffee when deciding which ones the businesses should buy. They also get to judge contests and write reviews among other things. It's not just professional cuppers which can get paid for sitting in front of such a beautiful drink! A professional cupper will check the coffee by smelling and tasting the fresh brew.
You can recreate this at home by setting up a few different coffees to taste. You should keep a supply of fresh water, even the best coffee wont taste very good if it's made with old water which has been left out for a long time. Even water can become stale over time and taste not so nice. This will affect your brew. You should try to avoid any distilled water as these often contain too high salt levels to be used for coffee.
So you can set yourself up it's a good idea to get a small tray which can hold around 12 bowls. You should also include some measure scoops, spoons and anything else you might need. You must also put the coffee on. Use a burr grinder to grind the beans and boil the water. Experiment with a number of different settings depending on how many different coffees you want to taste.
Grinding the beans differently can dramatically change the taste of the coffee. You should make the coffee by steeping the samples in hot water for a couple of minutes. Then filter the coffee and put a small amount into the sampling owl. Try smelling the aroma first, and then taste it by allowing it to flow over the whole tongue. Don't swallow it spit it out after a couple of seconds. Just think about what the coffee is like, what does it taste like? What does it smell like? Different coffees can produce very different results.
Try sampling different coffees from different countries from all around the world. Colombian and Kenyan coffees are completely different and it's marvelous to notice the difference! You should try different roasts of beans as well, see which you prefer. Try light roast, medium roast to very dark roast. Changing the roast of the bean can make a lot of difference in the final cup. You will normally want to add two tablespoons of ground coffee to 180ml of water, but you can adjust this to find out what works the best in your case. The water should be around 93C but you can also vary this to see what works best.
There are some things that you will want to avoid or enhance depending on your preferences, these can be: - Acidity - Tartness of the coffee. This is very noticeable in Mexican coffees. The roast will vary the acidity of the beans the most. - Aroma - the smell of the beans is quite important. Kona beans have a very fruity aroma. - Bitterness - Robusta beans are normally bitterer than Arabica beans.
Swill the beans around your mouth so that you can look out for bitterness. - Nuttiness - not everyone likes nutty coffee, this usually shows that the beans are poor quality.
Rob Carlton publishes primarily for http://www.coffee-espresso-maker-tips.com , an internet site with topics around expresso maker . On his site you might see his contributions on expresso maker and how to make espresso.