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Coffee cupping lessons from Gennaro Pelliccia of Costa Coffee

costa coffee masterlcass 1

Coffee lovers like myself appreciate lessons on coffee tasting. Coffee Master Gennaro Pelliccia, the official Costa Coffee tastemaker provided bloggers and media the opportunity to watch him do what he does best— taste coffee. Master Gennaro Pelicia paid a visit to the Philippines to conduct this exclusive Costa Cofee Masterclass. He has done other Masterclass sessions in other countries previously including, Dubai, Thailand, Singapore and China. The session we had with him is called Coffee cupping, or coffee tasting. This is the practice of observing the tastes and aromas of brewed coffee.

coffee master classes

He talked about the different beans grown from around the world and what makes each of them different. Unlike other coffee chains, Costa Coffee uses only one blend, the Mocha Italia, a closely guarded secret originally created by the Costa brothers when they started their brand. It was created from the perfect combination of Arabica and Robusta beans, making it smooth , round, and rich. All Costa Coffee’s drinks are made from this, all of which are expresso based. Everytime Master Gennaro leaves the roastery, he makes it a point to taste the coffee, carefully preserving the taste that Costa Coffee is known for. No wonder his tongue is insured for 10 million pounds.

masterclass coffee

For our cupping session, we had three bowls of various coffee beans: Colombian Arabica, Kenyan Arabica and Indonesian Arabica. The cupping procedure starts with sniffing the coffee from the bowl. Is it fruity, earthy, burnt, toast-like? I found the Indonesian coffee quite burnt. The Colombian was fruity while the Kenyan aroma was citrusy. The best aroma , in my opinion, was the Columbian coffee beans. The aroma of the Colombian Arabica is reminiscent of the odour and taste of fruit. I love it.

costa coffee

The next step was steeping the coffee for five minutes then smelling the coffee aroma again.

spooning the coffee costa coffee

Before slurping the coffee, Master Gennaro taught us how to spoon the floating debris on the bowl , by using  a soup spoon. After all the debris are removed, it is time to slurp the coffee. Once again, how did it taste? I still prefer the Colombian Coffee. Indonesian tastes bitter. “The coffee taster attempts to measure aspects of the coffee’s taste, specifically the body (the texture or mouthfeel, such as oiliness), sweetness, acidity (a sharp and tangy feeling, like when biting into an orange), flavour (the characters in the cup), and aftertaste.”

We were taught to describe the body, the physical properties of the coffee.  Was it a  strong but pleasant full mouthfeel characteristic as opposed to being thin? Body can be compared to drinking milk. A heavy body is comparable to whole milk while a light body can be comparable to skim milk. An after-taste sensation consistent with a dry feeling in the mouth, undesirable in coffee. I found the Colombian coffee with a pleasant taste. It is sweetish because of its fruity taste.  The Kenyan coffee was acidic while the Indonesian coffee is bitter.

Watch these videos of the cupping lessons.

Master Gennaro then invited the guests to be a coffee master for a day and create our own Costa Coffee drinks, choosing from the Espresso, Cappuccino and the Flat white.

Genaro Pelliccia

This cupping session made me appreciate to taste coffee like a true Master. Next time, buy coffee beans, I will make sure to discern which coffee is best for me. Definitely, I love the fruity aroma, not burnt or toasty coffee beans.

expresso at Costa coffee

Costa Coffee’s branches can be found in Eastwood, Robinson’s Place Manila and One World Place, BGC.

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