Cupping coffee is extremely similar to tasting wine - the purpose is to pick up on all of the flavors and nuances in each, and to determine how the coffee is unique from the rest. At its core, cupping is a method of evaluating the different characteristics of a particular type of coffee bean. The taste of each coffee changes based on a variety of different variables, such as farms, crops, regions, and country of origin. It is important to cup in order to have a better understanding of each type of coffee bean and how to categorize them. But cupping coffee is not just for the experienced roaster anymore. Here are some brief guidelines you can follow so that everyone who is passionate about coffee can try cupping on their own!
Step 1: Grind the Beans - Measure out the coffee beans you intend to use (8.25 grams), then grind them using a burr grinder. At this point, evaluate the fragrance of the grounds immediately. Fragrance refers to the smell of the coffee before brewing occurs.
Step 2: Pour Water - Pour hot water directly over the freshly ground coffee beans and make sure they are all completely covered by the water. Take note of the initial aroma that arises from the coffee at this point. Use 150ml of water in a small cup.
Step 3: Break the Crust - After letting the coffee sit for 4 minutes, use a spoon to break the crust that forms from the remaining wet coffee grounds. Use short sniffing inhalations to evaluate the true aroma of the coffee after the crust is broken.
Step 4: Remove Grounds - Using a 2 spoon, remove any remaining grounds from the cup so you are just left with brewed coffee.
Step 5: Overall Flavor Evaluation - Use a clean spoon to taste each of the coffees, and for each one take note of the acidity, complexity, flavor, and body. This is the last step in the process of cupping and a very important one, so take your time trying each one and write down your findings.
That’s all there is to it! Cupping coffee at home is a fun and interesting way to gain more knowledge about specialty coffee, and most importantly you don’t have to be a noteworthy coffee roaster in order to do it. Happy cupping!