Coffee tasting, also called "cupping", is
the sensory evaluation of coffee, which assesses more than just taste;
the senses of smell, taste and "feel" are all involved. Smell and taste
are very dependent on each other, and difficult to separate in
assessment; of course, there are some coffees that will not taste as
they smell, but in general the attribute of flavor can be interpreted
almost as much an aroma as a taste, and an aroma is a very good
indication of the taste to follow.
There are four basic tastes - salt, sweet,
acid and bitter - and most specific tastes fall into one of these
categories. The sense of feel involved in assessing coffee evaluates the
coffee's body - its weight, fullness and texture in the mouth.
Coffee beans are regularly tasted all
along the market route, though the really serious tasting is done when
the coffee is graded, in its country of origin, and at a second stage
when it is sold to the importing country.