What is Cupping?
Cupping is a way to evaluate coffee (more specifically quality coffee). Cupping is favored by coffee professionals across the world because it’s an easy way to taste different coffees at one time. You too can become a cupping expert!
What do you need to “cup” coffee?
- Coffee grinder: Ideally you would use a burr grinder to have the most consistent grind, but it isn’t essential.
- Digital scale: Controlling the ratio between water and coffee is essential, so you’ll need a scale to achieve that level of precision. I recommend the Hero
- Tasting cups should:
- Be the same size (two cups per coffee you are tasting)
- Be a heat-proof material (ceramic, porcelain, etc.)
- Be seven to 10 ounces in size (to fit the coffee but not have too much space at the top once filled)
- Gooseneck kettle: It provides the level of control you need.
- Your favorite whole bean coffee
How to cup coffee?
- Measure out 10 grams of each coffee into each cup and grind to a medium fineness.
Smell the coffees:
- What flavors do you smell?
- What do the smells remind you of?
Heat water and pour over the coffee:
- Heat the water to 200°F
- The water-to-coffee ratio should be 18:1, so with 10 grams of coffee you should pour 180 grams of water.
- Allow the coffees to steep and evaluate the aroma.
- Let the coffees sit untouched for four minutes to brew the coffee.
- While waiting, make notes about the smell of the coffee again.
- A crust of coffee grounds should form at the top of each cup.
- Be sure to not break this crust while smelling the aroma.
- How does this smell compare to the smell of the dry coffee beans?
- Is it stronger, weaker, better or worse?
- What similar or different smells can you identify?
Break the crust of coffee beans at the top of the cup.
- Using your spoon, start closest to you and move away with the back of the spoon to “break the crust.”
- Keep your nose close to the cup when you do this to experience the rush of aromas that will come as you break it.
- Write down your thoughts about the smell.
Slurp that coffee!
- Dip your spoon into the coffee and slurp the coffee from the spoon with a little air.
- How does it taste?
- What does it remind you of?
- Can you pick out any flavors (berries, nuts, spices, etc.)?
- How does it make your mouth feel (dry, creamy, thin, heavy, etc.)?
- What flavors/tastes are you left with after swallowing?
- If you are sampling different coffees, try one after another in quick succession to compare aromas and flavors.
- Be sure to write down your notes right away