Coffee cupping is a professional evaluation method used in the coffee industry to assess the flavors and quality of a coffee, similar to tasting wine. It involves a standardized process of steeping ground coffee in “cupping bowls” and evaluating its taste, fragrance, acidity, body, and other qualities. As the coffee continues to steep, its flavor profile will change with the extraction, presenting different nuances in its cup characteristics.
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OUR GUIDE TO COFFEE CUPPING
Coffee cupping helps coffee professionals determine the best sources of coffee beans, identify any defects in the beans, and make informed decisions about purchasing, roasting, and brewing the coffee. This evaluation method provides a consistent and objective way to judge the quality of coffee beans and is widely used by coffee producers, roasters, suppliers, and baristas to ensure the highest quality coffee is produced and served. If you’re interested in learning more about the quality of your coffee, we recommend checking out our previous blog on specialty coffee.
Weigh out 11 grams of each coffee to be cupped into cupping bowls, ground at a medium grind setting
To evaluate the fragrance of each coffee, smell the dry grounds
Bring a kettle of water to 205F and pour to fill each of the bowls, starting a timer once you begin pouring
To evaluate the aroma of each coffee, smell the “wet” grounds as they float to the top of the cupping bowls
Once the time hits 4:00, break the crust of grounds formed on top of the bowls with a spoon; then, scoop off any remaining foam and grounds from the top of the bowls using two spoons
At around 13:00 - 14:00, start tasting the coffees by slurping small amounts at a time off your spoon; notice the difference in the coffees’ flavor, body, acidity, and aftertaste as they continue to steep
Keep tasting until the timer hits around 20:00 - 22:00, at which point the coffee will often begin to present unpleasant flavors
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