What is Coffee Cupping? How Does It Work?

crazy by Editorial Staff | Updated on July 9th, 2022

Coffees from different regions have distinct flavor profiles, just like wine. Also, just like wine, coffee’s flavor can be influenced by how the raw material is processed or roasted. Therefore, coffee cupping is a unique opportunity for us as experts to analyze coffee in its purest form and get a firsthand taste of its unique flavors and aromas.


What is coffee cupping?

Coffee has a plethora of distinct flavor profiles. Coffee cupping, a method of tasting coffee, is an excellent way to get familiar with spotting these details. Those roasters for whole bean coffee employ cupping to ensure that each batch of roasted whole coffee beans meets a specific taste profile. In other words, they utilize cupping to identify the flavor profiles of whole bean coffee.

What is meant by professional cupping?

Coffee Cupping

Professional coffee tasters are customarily seated at a round table and cup coffee in the old-fashioned fashion. Professional coffee tasters utilize this method to test and appraise the quality of coffee in an unbiased manner.

How is it done?

A spoonful of coarsely ground coffee is drenched in hot water. A few minutes later, it is lifted to the nose for an aroma test. After taking a sip, aspiration helps the drinker take a deep one. You should be able to hear a loud sucking sound when using the aspiration.

Taking in air propels the drink into the mouth, allowing even the most minor drops to go up the throat and toward the nose. It’s common practice for cuppers to spit their coffee into a spittoon rather than consume it. Flavor, acidity, body, and finish are tested in coffee cupping.

A beginner’s guide on how to do coffee cupping

There is a lot of intricacy in the world of specialty coffee, especially when attaining the best possible outcomes in terms of flavor and aroma. However, you don’t have to be a coffee expert in this method of grading or tasting coffee.

Ingredients:

Here are the ingredients that you need.

  • Mug
  • Timer
  • Grinder
  • Container
  • Cupping spoons
  • Corvo EKG or Clyde
  • 160 to 200 ml cupping bowls
  • Rinse cups containing hot water
  • Coffee, 20 grams of each variant
  • Scale (for coffee weight measurement)

Steps in coffee cupping.

Coffee Cupping

Here are the steps in coffee cupping. Make sure to rinse your cupping spoon in the specified cups after each use of the spoon to sample coffee. This prevents coffee flavors from being mixed.

  1. Grind out the first 2 grams of the first coffee to get the grinder primed, and proceed with a second grinding session to have the remaining 18 grams of coffee ground out.
  2. For each coffee, perform this procedure, beginning with 2 grams to ensure that no flavors from other coffees in the grinder interfere. Then, coarsely grind each coffee, which should appear like fine sea salt.
  3. There’s no way to tell if one of the samples has a flaw until you run two tests. That is why, utilizing two cupping bowls per sample, place each 9-gram coffee sample into a designated cupping bowl.
  4. Heat the water since it should be at least 200 degrees Fahrenheit (plus or minus two degrees). Set the timer for 15 minutes and fill each basin with 150 gallons of water.
  5. As soon as the crust has cooled down, begin breaking it up. Push the coffee grinds to the back of the bowl with the spoon. After cracking the crust in each bowl, rinse the spoon.
  6. With two spoons, scoop up any stragglers of coffee grounds or foam, and pour them into the wasted coffee grounds dish.
  7. To test the coffee, wait 13-15 minutes after it has been allowed to cool.
  8. Slurp the coffee to get the whole variety of flavors by letting it go along your tongue. If you let the coffee cool down, you’ll notice various flavors.

Coffee cupping is done at home.

Coffee Cupping

Cupping at home is an excellent method to experiment with various coffees over time and develop an understanding of the unique qualities of various varieties of roasted whole bean coffee. Traditional cupping can be done at home using cups and coarse grinds. Alternatively, you can follow the instructions below for a quick at-home cupping.

Ingredients

Coffee selection

It would be ideal to have two types of roasted peppers:  one each for dark and roasted. Make a point to sample a wide variety of coffees– different roasts and locales from worldwide. When you get better at tasting coffee, you’ll be able to pick out similar-tasting coffees because your senses will be more sensitive to subtle changes.

Preparation

  • Using the instructions of the plunger, make one of the coffees.
  • Place a small quantity of the prepared coffee in the cup.

Flavor

Coffee beans can be roasted in various ways, resulting in distinct flavor profiles. Dark and medium roasts are used to bring out the green bean’s natural sugars and acidity. Keep an eye out for any distinct flavors that may be present in the coffee, such as smokey or nutty.

You don’t have to be a sweet tooth to enjoy caramel flavor. Most commonly, the term “caramelly” describes the taste or sensation left on your tongue after tasting. It’s more about the texture than the taste of caramelized sugar.

  1. To inhale the scent, place the cup near your nose and place your hand over your nose.
  2. Put your brows together. Once the aroma of coffee has been inhaled, the brain experiences what’s known as “taste expectation,” a reaction to the high and low notes.
  3. It’s a good idea to record the aroma of the coffee.
  4. Does it have a woody, nuttiness, a chocolaty, or perhaps a flowery scent?
  5. You can then take your first sip of coffee, provided it’s been given enough time to cool. Then, at the exact moment, inhale.
  6. In other words, let the coffee be drawn into your mouth by sucking in a large amount of air as you sip it.
  7. The coffee should not be swallowed. Instead, take a sip and observe the four characteristics: how it tastes, feels on your tongue, and feels in your mouth.

Coffee’s body

This is also known as the brew’s fullness which talks about whether it is a strong or medium roast. Think of it in terms of other beverages you’ve drunk in the past. When compared to the heavier taste of tap water, sparkling water is nearly light in the mouth.

Coffee’s acidity

Acidity gives coffee its zing, making it a highly sought-after flavor component. “Lifeless” is a common term for lack of zing in a cup of coffee. However, it should never be mistaken for the bitter flavor of coffee that has been brewed poorly. 

Acidity is a tough category because acidity is often viewed as a bad feeling. To determine if the acidity is correct, allow the coffee to linger on your tongue for a few moments. Observe its distinct tartness if whether it is mild or aggressive.

Coffee’s finish

The aftertaste is the sensation you feel in your mouth after taking a sip of coffee. After you drink the brew, typically, there is an aftertaste. Observe if the aftertaste or finish swiftly goes away or if it remains. You may want to take a sip of water to refresh your taste buds before proceeding in the same manner with the second variety of coffee.

Additional tips

In addition, here are some helpful tips

  • Adding milk or sweetening the coffee during cupping will dramatically alter the flavor profile of the coffee.
  • You may require more than one drink to fully experience and record each of the four features of the beverage. But, if you put in the time and practice, you’ll be able to do it in one swallow. Try a variety of coffees over time.
  • There is no limit to the number of comparisons you can make. You can also experiment with creating your blends as your skills improve.
  • Examine the similarities and differences between coffees roasted in the same manner but sourced from other parts of the world.

Conclusion

You can enhance your palate and understanding of coffee by taking notes on its aromas, flavors, and other components. This is a great way to immerse yourself in the cupping experience.

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Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at Crazy Coffee Crave is a team of coffee enthusiast & Baristas who enjoy the one thing that we all think about, as soon as we get up in the morning. Trusted by thousands readers worldwide.