Friends Enjoy Velvet Ditch Coffee Cupping Event at Isom House in Oxford, MS

“I loved learning about the importance of cupping coffee at each stage of the coffee process—from the farm to the importers to the roasters to the retailers. I was amazed at the many variables that determine a good cup of Joe, Mary L. of Oxford, MS said.  “Becoming more aware of these factors—the way it smells, the way it tastes, the feel of it in your mouth and the aftertaste was insightful and a good skill to learn,” she added.

A recent Velvet Ditch Coffee Cupping (Tasting) event brought friends together around the table for big laughs and bold flavors!  A Velvet Ditch Coffee Cupping (aka “tasting”) gives coffee lovers the opportunity to experience comparative tasting, evaluating the flavor characteristics of two or more coffees side by side.  The key to developing your own sense of taste is to smell and taste different coffees, assessing what’s in the cup.

A coffee cupping is a type of coffee tasting used throughout the coffee industry as a way to quality check coffees at the farm and beyond.  The Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) has very strict protocols and techniques for coffee professionals throughout all areas of the value chain—farmers cup what they have produced, buyers cup at origin, importers check shipped samples, roasters cup to evaluate roast quality and tasting notes, coffee shop owners cup to determine menu selections.

Using an adapted SCA-protocol, Velvet Ditch Coffee Roasters has created its own cupping analysis protocol for coffee lovers to experience a variety of coffees at home.

“Coffee is similar to wine, craft beer or spirits, where the enjoyment is in the nuanced flavor of the beans themselves. That’s why coffee cupping is a tremendous amount of fun for coffee lovers,” Velvet Ditch Coffee Roasters’ Owner Lesley Vance Walkington said.  “There’s so much to smell and taste with freshly roasted coffees, and my cuppings give you the time and space to do a deep dive into the sensory exploration of coffee.  Farmers work hard and to honor their work, I want to help coffee lovers take their sipping experience to the next level.”

The Velvet Ditch Coffee cupping process only requires a few items, and each coffee is brewed exactly the same way to treat the coffees equally.  The brewing process is simple and consistent.

First, you select two to three coffees to compare.  Then each coffee is ground and prepared by adding hot water directly to the coffee grounds.  After a stir to saturate all the ground coffee, the coffee is left alone and allowed to steep for four minutes.

Then, you skim off the layer of floating grounds, knows as the crust, and discard.  Finally, you begin smelling the aroma and recording your observations on the Velvet Ditch Coffee Cupping form.  It’s important to slurp the coffee across your tongue in order to aerate the coffee over your taste buds, maximizing the flavor on your palate.

Each taster uses the Velvet Ditch Coffee Cupping form to observe, note attributes and score the coffee on certain characteristics—aroma, flavor, body, balance, acidity, mouthfeel, aftertaste.

“I really enjoyed the Velvet Ditch Coffee Cupping event and learned a lot that I never knew about coffee. I didn’t think I’d be able to distinguish between descriptors like floral, cocoa, toast, etc., but I learned to trust my instincts and was pleasantly surprised to learn how many different taste profiles there can be for coffee. It was also fascinating to learn how preparation methods affect the flavor of coffee,” said Emily R. from Oxford, MS.