Coffee guru teaches tasting skills to professionals

  • As the Tiger of Jelutong finally rests, thousands pay tribute
    As the Tiger of Jelutong finally rests, thousands pay tribute

    GEORGE TOWN, April 20 — In a send-off befitting of the man who championed against injustice, thousands thronged Dewan Seri Pinang here today to pay Karpal Singh their final respects before his... …

  • DAP to hold memorial services to pay tribute to Karpal Singh
    DAP to hold memorial services to pay tribute to Karpal Singh

    In memory of their former chairman, the late Karpal Singh, the DAP will be organising memorial services at the state level beginning with Penang, a statement from the party said today. The national level memorial event will be held in Kuala Lumpur on April 24, the statement said. The venues and other details will be decided and released soon.... …

  • Utusan says MB heads to roll in two states

    Two states will see a change of Menteri Besar, claimed Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia today, although it did not name them. "Apparently, two Menteris Besar are expected to be replaced soon. Speculation on this has started, akin to the gentle evening winds along the beach,” Awang Selamat, the pseudonym for Utusan's collective editorial voice, wrote... …

  • Robot submarine completes 50% of MH370 underwater search area
    Robot submarine completes 50% of MH370 underwater search area

    The Bluefin-21 robot submarine has searched half of the focused underwater search area for flight MH370, as the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines passenger jet enters its 44th day, say Australian authorities. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (Amsa) said nothing has been found yet in the seven underwater searches. Another... …

  • Karpal inspired us, say mourners from near and far bidding farewell to their hero
    Karpal inspired us, say mourners from near and far bidding farewell to their hero

    As thousands of mourners bid farewell to the "Tiger of Jelutong", lawyer R. Joethy, 73, remembered his old law school buddy as one who rarely ever studied at university. Karpal Singh had so many distractions from his involvement in the student union where he was one of the leaders, Joethy said. "But he was very bright boy. He worked very... …

  • Karpal’s final journey
    Karpal’s final journey

    GEORGE TOWN, April 20 — The air in front of Number 144A, Jalan Utama was laden with grief and emotion as one of Penang’s most prominent sons, Karpal Singh, left his family home on his final journey... …

Seoul (The Korea Herald/ANN) - A man wearing a black apron savors the aroma of a cup of coffee, and then loudly slurps the liquid so it spreads to the back of his tongue.

He is one of five active Q Grader instructors in the world, and visited Seoul this week to supervise a test to accredit professional coffee tasters, or Q Graders.

With Korea consuming the most coffee per household in Asia, a Q Grader is an emerging career.

"Worldwide, there are close to 2,000 Q Graders now and about 15 percent of them are in Korea," Mane Alvez said in an interview with The Korea Herald.

"Considering that the test only started in Korea in 2009, the number is too big and this isn't good for the program because it means a lot of people who are not really coffee professionals are just cramming for the test to get jobs or certificates."

To sift out non-professionals, a "calibration" is administered every two years to see if those who passed the Q Grader exam still have the coffee cupping, or tasting, ability.

The Coffee Quality Institute, founded by the world's largest coffee trade association, the Specialty Coffee Association of America, accredits Q Graders who pass a rigorous three-day exam, comprised of 22 sections such as green grading, roast identification, coffee cupping, sensory skills and sensory triangulation.

CQI provides training and technical assistance to coffee producers and other individuals in the supply chain to increase the value, volume and sustainability of high-quality coffee production.

Alvez noted that a genuinely professional coffee taster should be able to describe the taste.

A "Coffee Taster's Flavor Wheel" shows dozens of different tastes and aromas that coffee can have, such as winey, acidy, enzymatic, spicy, smoky, chocolaty and herby.

"You may have the taste buds to pass the exam, but you may not be able to describe anything about the taste," he said.

"It is more difficult to tell the taste of coffee than of wine. Wine is easier because the alcohol evaporates."

Alvez, who has visited Korea several times over the past three years, said the quality of coffee sold here was not good as it was mostly past-crop coffee, or coffee cropped over a year ago. He has not seen specialty coffee here, or premium coffee cropped that year.

"But there is room for improvement," he added.

"In Korea, people drink mostly espresso, but if you mix it with milk - it is impossible to tell if it's specialty coffee or not."

Specialty coffees are distinctive because of their full cup taste and few defects. They take up about 10 percent of the U.S. coffee market.

Alvez, formerly a winemaker from Portugal, followed a woman to California and later moved to Vermont where he has been working with coffee for the past 25 years.

He runs two companies - Artisan Coffee which roasts coffee and Coffee Lab International which tests coffee and educates coffee professionals.

His company sells specialty coffee to supermarkets, retailers and a few individuals within only 80 kilometers.

"You place an order and then we roast. That makes the coffee very fresh," he said.

He travels to a dozen countries including Mexico, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Colombia, El Salvador, Peru, Brazil, Ethiopia, Kenya and Indonesia each year to buy coffee.

"The best Ethiopian and Central American coffees come between February and March, and Brazilian comes much later," said Alvez whose favorite is East African coffee.

Pix: 20130403-006

Follow @YahooMalaysia on LINE for daily news updates.

Comments on Yahoo pages are subject to our link to Comments Guidelines. You are responsible for any content that you post. Yahoo is not responsible or liable in any way for comments posted by its users. Yahoo does not in any way endorse or support comments made by its users.

  • Langkawi MP unrepentant, continues insults on late Karpal, says Facebook user The Malaysian Insider
    Langkawi MP unrepentant, continues insults on late Karpal, says Facebook user

    A Barisan Nasional MP whose Facebook posting poking fun at the death of Karpal Singh shocked Malaysians has again insulted the late DAP leader, this time comparing him to a hostile figure in Islamic history who fought against Prophet Muhammad. Facebook user Shamsul Kamal Ariffin Mohd Nasir, 42, told The Malaysian Insider that Langkawi MP,... …

  • Karpal’s car crashed into lorry, not the other way around, says Perak police The Malaysian Insider
    Karpal’s car crashed into lorry, not the other way around, says Perak police

    Initial investigations have revealed that Karpal Singh’s Toyota Alphard crashed into a five-ton lorry in the accident yesterday that claimed his life and that of his assistant, Perak police said today. State police chief Datuk Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani also dismissed rumours and speculation that the accident was caused by the lorry crashing... …

  • Interfaith group ‘worried’ that ex-judge can have such ‘racist’ views The Malay Mail Online
    Interfaith group ‘worried’ that ex-judge can have such ‘racist’ views

    KUALA LUMPUR, April 19 — An interfaith group expressed shock today at the “racist” views of a former high-ranking judge who had called the presence of large Hindu and Buddhist statues in the... …