Cuptasters training #1

I'm getting competitive. I'm going to compete in 3 different copetitions. Cuptasters, Brewers Cup and Barista. And I want to keep track of everything.

There we are.

With the first training log.

The session was made of 3 parts. 

Tongue mapping
The exercise is based on 5 basic tastes. [Tastes, not flavours!] Salty, Sweet, Bitter, Umami, Sour.

There were 6 cupping bowls on the table. Salt solution, sugar solution, grapefruit bitter solution, sodium glutamate solution (umami), lemon salt solution and clear water for reference and confusion.

The idea is to be able to detect those tastes through blind cupping and map your tongue. Everybody is different and everybody has his own spots for particular flavours. It's usuful to draw your tongue and mark these spots.

For me saltiness is perceived on the tip. Bitter at the end and a bit under. Sweet is interesting - it depends on intensity. If there's enough sugar in the water I get a coating impression on the entire top surface, if not I perceive it mostly on the sides. Umami is very centered and lingers there and towards back and on the roof of mouth as well. Sour makes a U shape with spots on the tip and sides and under.

Sour was easiest, bitter the hardest - I needed to calibrate for that to feel anything. Umami reminds me of chicken stock in high intensity and green tea in low. Salt is like urine when in high intensity.

Aroma sampling
36 aromas. Out of 36 I got only one right, which is potato (though I never had a potato defect before). Must be polish influence. I mistaken clove for cinnamon, redcurrant for blackcurrant, apple for grape, butter for pastry, roasted coffee and medicinal for fishy - got to work on that. Earth, straw and rubber remind me of my attic (year 1920 build house).

I knew almost all of them. The difficulty is in naming them and associating correctly.

4 triangulations. The same roaster, I know these coffees. Hit 1/4. I would get 2, but I changed one wrong in a second go. I think I should trust my first feeling.

I might have been a bit tired and dehydrated. I would consider palate fatigue after first exercise asd well. Everything matters.

Usually I assess acidity. Because I detect it easily. Strength and type of acidity are good variables. But it's not always about differences between cups. It's good to find a similarity as well.

The triangulation I got right was a tricky one, because one cup was filled half and then topped (no crust). I perceived the odd one partucularly bitter.

I didn't measure the time, but that was too slow. 5 people at the table to draw conditions.

The next session is right in front of me. What I can see is a lot of work to be done. But I'd rather identify blank spots trying to fill them, than struggling to move an inch ahead. Also, I had the pleasure to to these with more experienced people. That always brings you up quickly, doesn't it?


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