Cupping is the universal standard for professionally tasting coffee. Its elementary nature allows it to be replicated in any circumstance, water and heating equipment permitting. Be on a coffee farm, at a point of exportation, or in a roastery, cupping is an essential tool for effective evaluation.
What you need
CUPPING BOWL/GLASS COFFEE SCALES FILTERED WATER POURING KETTLE TIMER TABLESPOONS
PREPARATIONIt is important to use a ratio of 5.5g ground coffee to 100g water. So to work out how much coffee is needed, first measure the volume of the cupping bowl. For this example we are using a 200g cupping bowl and 11g coffee. Grind size is also a very important part to cupping. In the roastery we are looking for an extraction of 20%. We measure this with a refractometer - however this is not essential for the home cupper. Aim to grind the coffee to the consistency of rough sand.
FRAGRANCE ASSESSMENTPlace your ground coffee into the vessel; at this point you can assess the dry coffee’s fragrance. Think about the aromas you can smell; is it sweet or fruity? Classic like chocolate or delicate like flowers.
BREWStart the timer and pour 200g of water onto coffee grounds, ensuring full saturation. Once the coffee starts to settle it will create a crust; once again assess the aromas and see how they may have changed.
BREAKING THE CRUST At 4min take the spoon and gently break the crust - by pushing through from front to back three times. At the same time put your nose close to the coffee grounds to smell the aromas released by the departure of the CO2 gases. Once again assess the aromas and how they may have changed.
THE SCRAPE Using two spoons, carefully remove the remaining layer of the crust. Do this by overlapping the two spoons starting at the back of the bowl, bringing it to the front and lifting out any grinds and crema.
TASTE ASSESSMENT At about 10 minutes the coffee will be at a suitable temperature to taste - whatever you do don't burn your tongue at this point or all is wasted! Use your spoon to obtain a small amount of coffee; slurp it like you would hot soup, allowing it to reach all parts of your palate. Assess the coffee and think about its flavour, is it sweet? Or fruity? You can also assess its acidity, body characteristics and its overall balance. Taste it as it cools to see the changes in flavours.