Taka Koyanagi – How to make a NZ Cup Tasters champ

Event Date: 15th December, 2017

To be honest, I was always interested in the Cup Tasters Championship, but I had no chance to compete. Also this time, I didn’t expect to win for the first time competing. So, I was very surprised by myself and the result. Also I thought this competition was easy, but much much more difficult than I expected, as the first round result showed only 5 of 8 were correct.

Actually I watched a video of World Cup Tasters Championship the day before the competition, and I found a few facts, then I made a tentative theory.

1. Why very only few competitors smell coffee?
-> I thought it’s for saving time, but if I smell same as usual cupping, how my competition goes??

2. A completely new method just for competition
-> We need to memorize what we cup before, and compare with next one. So, I thought if I can shorten the memorizing time, is it easier to find a difference? If I don’t spit a previous sip and get next one, can I know the difference clearly? If I get second sip and taste change, it means different, if taste is same, it means same. This method is just for this competition.

3. Nobody rinse their spoon after they sipped
-> Why why why? I need to make sure not to mix one cup to another. Maybe I need rinse my spoon

Unfortunately, 1st and 2nd theory didn’t work 🙁 1st theory was not good, because the coffee was brewed and left for a long time, so that it had already lost aroma. Also temperature was not same as well. Temperature effects on smell as well.
And 2nd theory was so difficult to distinguish whether taste changed or not. If I really wanna do it, I would need a special training, but it’s far away from daily coffee life…. also not practical. Instead of this method, I found that I keep the last sip as long as in my mouth before the next one came into. It worked.
Also 3rd theory worked, I think. Even it took time and the table was messy with water… I never mixed one coffee with another. Actually the coffee was served 80-100ml (maybe), and if I don’t rinse my spoon and then 1-2ml come in the cup, taste might slightly change. We need to find similarity and difference very tight, so I prefer doing rinse my spoon.

Actually, I’ve got 5 correct out of 8 in 4:14 in first round, so in the final round, I decided to take more time to make decision. Also when I was really not sure, I drank. I’ve got 7 correct out of 8 in 5:46. I was the last competitor who finished. I was quite sure of 6, but not sure of 2. Luckily I’ve got 1 of 2 correct, and finally I won 🙂

I’ve got only 2 rounds, but I had lots and lots of thinking and observation.

I believe that’s why I could be a champion!!!

Taka