‘Coffee beans can talk’ and four more things you can learn at the Coffee Science Center


While coffee beans won’t exactly tell you what it is bitter about, the pitch it makes when dropped in a bowl could actually tell you where it was planted: by determining its density based on the sound.

“A tree that grows in a warmer and lower elevation compared to a tree that grows in cooler higher elevation tends to ripe faster,” explained coffee specialist Rich Watanabe.

Take for example a coffee that ripens in 9 months compared to another that does so in 14 months.

“That coffee on the branch takes 5 months more to mature,” explained Watanabe. “It is packed more, yung molecules niya, kasi may 5 months pa (to grow), rather than 9 months.”

This is one of the lessons you can learn at the 3-hour Coffee Sensory Workshop at the Coffee Science Center in Quezon City.

Housed at the newly-opened SGD Coffee along Maalalahanin St., the Coffee Science Center teaches farmers and coffee drinkers about different concepts behind the favorite morning drink.

Aside from¬†“hearing” coffee beans, here are four more things¬†you can learn at the center:

Coffee’s imperfections surface when it cools down.

Molecules oscillate in heat. What does that have to do with coffee?

“Some flavors are more prominent than the others because their atoms have different rates of oscillations,” explained Watanabe. “What you are tasting is the more active molecules.” Then as the coffee cools down, the defective properties that had a different rate of oscillation shows up.”

You get to try different types of coffee beans at the sensory workshop. Here, we tried Amadeo, Kenya, Sagada, and Benguet beans. I only finished Sagada and Benguet coffee. On this day, I downed 6 glasses of very good coffee, the most I had in a long while.

Coffee has more flavor profiles than wine.

If wine has around a hundred flavor profiles, coffee has around 200, said Watanabe.

Slurping is not just for ramen. It’s also for coffee.

One way of actually tasting coffee is by aerating it, and the simplest way of doing so is by slurping your coffee. While it means different for ramen where slurping helps cool down the noodles on its way to your mouth and the sound is a cultural indicator of appreciating the meal, slurping coffee brings out the stronger flavor of the coffee.

By the way, strong coffee is not necessarily bitter coffee.

Good coffee will barely stain a clear glass.

Watanabe explained that good coffee should never have sediments, and that it shouldn’t stain a clear glass save for the last drop. “It’s like drinking water. No distinct stain,” he said.

I came into the workshop thinking I was already a casual coffee drinker. It turned out that I still have much to learn. Rich Watanabe guides the class in the basics of appreciating coffee in various forms: from beans to cups.

There are more lessons that you can learn from the Coffee Sensory Workshop, but posting most of them here would be unfair. Whether you usually enjoy your fix in sachets or are already into the world of ground beans, the session has something new for you to learn. Head over to SGD Coffee or at the Coffee Science Center’s Facebook page to know how you can join a workshop.