杯測師帶您品嚐咖啡的層次 Exploring the Structures of Coffee with a Cupping Expert
The structure in coffee refers to the ability to discern multiple flavor sensations after taking a sip. For coffee to be considered structured, its flavors must be rich and distinct. Here's how to savor these intricacies with the guidance of a cupping professional.
To achieve structured coffee, the coffee beans themselves need to be of exceptional quality with diverse and distinct flavors. Beans grown at higher altitudes often possess a richer variety of flavor compounds. Higher-priced beans usually offer more distinct and rich flavors. For instance, while many beans claim to have floral notes, lower-priced ones might have a faint hint of floral aroma, whereas higher-priced ones have a much clearer and defined floral aroma. The more distinct and clear the flavors, the easier it is to experience structures.
咖啡層次略分為兩種 There are two kinds of structures in coffee
在喝一口咖啡時，前味、中味、後味皆有不同且鮮明的風味轉化。以「巴拿馬 翡翠莊園 蕾蒂絲 水洗」來說，一入口會有最強烈的風味感受，像是鮮明的花香，即使具有柑橘與其他風味，通常會先感受到花香；再來會感受到第二強的風味，像是柳橙或是柑橘；後味會有甜香味，像是蔗糖香，並伴隨前面風味的餘韻像是花香或柳橙。
1. Progressive Flavor Structure:
When you take a sip of coffee, you experience different and distinct flavor transitions from the front to the middle to the back of your palate. We take the "Panama Hacienda La Esmeralda Landrace Blend Washed" as the example. The first sip might offer an intense floral flavor, such as a vivid floral fragrance. Even if there are notes of citrus and other flavors, the floral aroma is usually the most prominent. The second sip will introduce the second-strongest flavor, like orange or citrus. In the aftertaste, you might experience a sweet aroma, like sugarcane, along with the lingering impression of the earlier flavors, such as floral or orange.
咖啡在高溫、中溫及低溫時會有不同的品飲感受，因為風味、酸質、甜感與甘苦等會隨溫度而轉化。以「巴拿馬 波奎特 艾利達莊園 ASD厭氧 緩慢日曬」來說，高溫時龍眼乾香氣飽滿、酸質明亮，中溫時酒釀櫻桃香伴隨相對較甜的感受，低溫時杏桃與鳳梨明顯、帶著清甜與生津的酸感。因為咖啡本質好、有豐富且鮮明的風味，在不同溫度下的體感不同、伴隨風味的轉化，有多變的層次。
2. Temperature-Dependent Structure:
Coffee exhibits different sensory characteristics at high, medium, and low temperatures. Flavor, acidity, sweetness, and bitterness change as the temperature shifts. For instance, with "Panama Bouquete Elida Anaerobic Slow Drying(ASD) Natural," at a high temperature, you'll notice a robust lychee dry aroma with bright acidity. At medium temperatures, winey cherry notes come through, accompanied by relatively sweeter sensations. At low temperatures, distinct apricot and pineapple flavors become evident, along with a clean and sweet acidity. Due to the coffee's excellent quality and the clarity and richness of its flavors, different temperature conditions yield diverse experiences with a clear structure effect.
The structure in coffee, much like the assessment criteria on a cupping table, are evaluated by cupping experts. When evaluating coffee, after a sip, cupping experts use several criteria, including aroma, flavor, aftertaste, acidity, body, balance, and overall assessment for evaluation. They often taste the coffee three times (in three sips): at high temperature, medium temperature, and low temperature. They record their sensory impressions during each sip and assign scores. Higher-scoring coffee should exhibit distinct and excellent qualities.
To quickly experience the structures of coffee in the brewing process, you can experiment with different grind sizes. For example:
Grind 20 grams of coffee beans using your usual grind size and brew a cup:
Flavors are relatively concentrated, and there's a balanced acidity.
Adjust your grinder by +0.5 for 10 grams and -0.5 for another 10 grams, totaling 20 grams, and brew a cup:
Flavors are notably distinct, with clear acidity and mellowness, and the structure is apparent.
While the second cup may demonstrate more evident structure, it may not necessarily be the most enjoyable coffee. If you can experience structure in the first cup with your regular brewing method, it's likely to be more balanced, pleasant, and smooth.
The structure of coffee has many facets, not just in taste. During the dry aroma phase, there's a range of aromatic changes because the coffee itself has a rich flavor profile. Coffee, owing to its rich flavor profile, allows us to detect the most pronounced aroma during the first whiff of dry grounds. With the second sniff, we might detect a different aroma beneath the one we got used to during the first sniff, and there's a chance for a third aroma during the third sniff. When the coffee's natural aromas aren't vivid and abundant, there's no need for three separate sniffs. The structures in good coffee is well worth savoring!
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✔ Stick to fresh roasting ✔ Stick to sieving and roasting ✔ Stick to estate coffee
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➤ Single-origin coffee with good flavor and structures