But, I’ve been noticing a few things about how speciality coffee shops all over the place are brewing. Of course I have, I’m opinionated and fussy. I’m talking about filter coffee, manual brewing. I’m aware that many places brew based on their understanding of what their customers like, some brew coffee how they themselves like to drink it. Many places seem to have jumped on the bandwagon of brew bars, some it is simply to have a filter option on the menu, and some it is a focal point for showcasing various coffees..
Why do we cup coffee? Of course roasters cup coffee to choose which coffees to buy, to determine roast profiles and make tweaks, quality control, et cetera. Why do coffee shops cup coffee? (Or do they actually cup the coffees they serve?) For a coffee shop serving filter options, cupping is the best way to get to know your product, particularly cupping the same coffee frequently. It has been a constant eye opener to me throughout my coffee adventures. There are times I’ve been disappointed by how unimpressive a filter coffee served has been. Cupping it, I’ve realised it’s quite a delicious coffee.
In a nutshell, I just like brewed coffee to taste like the coffee in the cupping bowl. (By this I mean the coffee as received from the roaster, once they have decided on roast profiles etc) My question, put bluntly, is why would we brew any differently? I completely understand the need for various brew methods and tools, and am not advocating that coffee should only be served as a “cupping bowl” – this isn’t commercially practical, time-wise; neither is it particularly an enjoyable way of drinking a cup of coffee, given that the bottom of the cup would be full of ground coffee. I’m questioning the brew profiles. Why would we not stick to the exact same ratio as is universally used for cupping? Why would we not aim to serve the coffee in a manner which showcases that coffee in its completeness, as we would judge in a cupping? Why wouldn’t we brew to match the cupping bowl as closely as possible, by whatever methods or techniques will best achieve that?