Cupping is probably one of the most important skills anyone can develop in the coffee industry. Like a Winehouse will evaluate a good Cabernet, the prepared person must use a tight tasting rule for quality assessment. Many of us know how to assess wine tasting, but the coffee was different. We did not try that way. Taste professional coffee is called in the term “cupping”. It can be said that cupping is not difficult, but it is not easy for the right cupping. This article will provide you with Cupping coffee instructions so that you can know how to do it.
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What is Cupping coffee?
Cupping Coffee or Coffee Tasting is a tasting process to evaluate coffee quality. Cupping coffee is a professional practice process by experts tasting “Q Graders” or anyone who knows about basic cupping techniques and loves exploring the flavor of coffee. When brewing coffee, Cupping is an all-sensory evaluation by the individual, so it requires following a system that considers many factors, from the instruments, sample preparation and evaluation to the process manipulation and scoring to get the most honest, unbiased and objective results.
Cupping Coffee Instructions: The Fundamentals
Coffee Beans And Roast Types.
Kinds of Beans
It would be best if you used single-origin beans, as the goal of tasting is to note the difference between coffee beans grown in different places.
In coffee Cupping, a lighter roast is best. Medium roasted beans are quite good but are not always recommended. You should avoid Dark-roasted beans.
To achieve the best results with these coffee cupping instructions, beans must be freshly roasted! The roasting of coffee for cupping shall take between 8 and 12 minutes and shall be used for cupping between 8 and 24 hours after roasting.
Coffee to Water Ratio for Cupping
The Specialty Coffee Association’s official cupping ratio is 8.25 grams of coffee per 150 ml of water, which we’ll use in this blog post.
Grind your beans, so they are medium-coarse.
Use Good Water
The water used during the cupping process must meet all requirements of the SCA Standard ‘Water for Brewing Specialty Coffee’, which can be found on the SCA Resources web page.
How To Cup Coffee?
What you’ll need
- Freshly roasted, single-origin coffees
- Two small bowls for each coffee used
- A soup spoon for each taster
- A good burr grinder
- A scale
- Tall glass to hold spoons
- Vessel (to collect used coffee grounds)
- A laptop, tablet, or pen and paper for taking notes
Step 1. Set Up
Place a bowl on the table for each coffee you’ll be cupping. Label each cup with something unrelated to the actual names or origins of the beans to avoid any form of bias.
Place your spoon(s) in the tall glass nearby.
Whether you opt for pen and paper or an electronic notepad, make sure your coffee tasting notes are accessible.
Step 2. Heat The Water
Fill your kettle with plenty of water. You’ll need 150 mL (1/2 cup) per coffee.
Once the water has boiled, let it sit for 60 seconds before adding it to the coffee. If you have a thermometer available, check the temperature periodically to keep it between 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 3. Prepare The Coffee Beans
While the water is boiling, measure out an 8.25-gram sample of coffee beans in one bowl and a 4-gram “priming” batch in another. At the end, you should have 2 piles for each bean.
Step 4. Prime And Grind Your Coffee Samples
Prime your grinder with 4-gram piles of coffee. Set aside those grounds and then grind 8.25 grams. Put this second batch of grounds back in the bowl and return the bowl to its labelled spot on the table.
Follow this step for each coffee, adding 4 grams per grind to ensure that the other coffees in your grinder don’t affect your flavor.
Step 5. Smell The Grounds
Make a note of any flavours you notice. Do you detect cinnamon, lavender, orange, or nuts? You can use uncommon words to describe the cup of coffee fully. Write it all down!
It also helps to cup the coffee with your mouth open: it helps deliver more aromas to your palate.
Step 6. Add The Hot Water
Heat your water up to 200 (+,- 2) degrees Fahrenheit. Start the timer, and pour the same amount of water into each cup ( 150 grams of water each cup)
Step 7. Smell It Again
After you have added water to the grounds, smell each sample again. Get close and inhale deeply over the coffee to assessor the aroma of the wet coffee.
Step 8. Break The “Crust” And Smell… Again!
4 minutes after the water has been added, the top of the bowl should have developed a nice, thick layer of floating coffee grounds and bubbles, called the “crust.” Break the crust to evaluate the wet aroma. Do this by partially inserting your spoon in the crust of coffee, and push them back while smelling. Repeat one round of this process three times. Be sure to do this in the same order you poured water onto the grounds.
Ensure the spoon rinse back off in the tall glass of warm water between samples to prevent contamination.
After you’ve broken the crust, smelled each one and then stir the top of each coffee with a clean spoon so that more grounds will sink to the bottom. Then remove the remaining crust.
Step 9. Taste The Coffee!
Take a spoonful of each coffee and slurp quickly. Slurp the coffee in order to allow the coffee to spread along your tongue to taste the full range of flavors. Between every slurp, rinse the spoon in the spare cup of water.
Step 10. Make some notes
Take flavor notes for each cup of coffee you taste.
The Specialty Coffee Association of America’s SCAA Flavor Wheel is a great resource for referencing flavours. It provides a visual prompt will help identify the flavour and aroma.
If you want more details about everything that goes into professional coffee cupping, check out the following standards from the SCAA.
To successfully cup coffee, take detailed notes and don’t second guess yourself. There is no wrong answer – everyone experiences taste and smell differently, so be prepared to share your opinions with others.
How much coffee do you use for cupping?
When cupping, the ratio of 8.25 grams (whole bean) coffee (± 0.25 grams), to 5.07 fluid ounces (150 ml) water shall be used. When adjusting due to vessel size, we shall use a ratio of 1.63 grams (whole bean) coffee per 1 fluid ounce of water (or 0.055 g coffee per 1 ml water).
What is the purpose of coffee cupping?
The following are the key reasons why we cup coffees:
– To assess the quality and consistency of coffee before purchasing it.
– To determine sensory differences between samples.
– To determine the presence of any defects.
– To determine preference between samples.
How to improve your cupping skills
The best way to improve is to keep practising – especially with other people. Gathering together with other people who love the same hobby as you can help refine your technique or expand your understanding of a subject.
Understand yourself, too. Remember that cupping is a physical and mental activity so be prepared to stay calm and open-minded throughout the session. Are you exhausted? Did you burn your tongue yesterday? Do you have a naturally over-or under-sensitive palate to sweetness or acidity, for example? All of these will affect your ability to be as objective as possible.
Like most things in life, practice makes perfect. You’ll only get better and better at pinpointing specific flavours the more you cup and getting comfortable using the flavour wheel. Eventually, with some practice, you’ll have the palate of a coffee professional, so be sure to cup as often as you can! Besides – there are worse ways to spend time than tasting coffee.
I am Ralph Mason and I am a passionate coffee drinker. I worked as a barista for a few years and since 2012 I have been trying to convince as many people as possible of good coffee.
I started writing on the barista blog on RepublikCoffeeBar in 2018. It was a pure hobby site and I tested coffee products like coffee machines, beans, mug, and other accessories. After the first year, my blog is becoming a well-known coffee site with about 100 thousand visits per month.
In 2019 I decided to focus on RepublikCoffeeBar only. I became a full-time coffee blogger and was declared crazy by many.