What is coffee cupping?
“Coffee cupping, or coffee tasting, is the practice of observing the tastes and aromas of brewed coffee.It is a professional practice but can be done informally by anyone or by professionals known as “Q Graders”. Wikipedia
Tasting is considered to have begun in the late 1800s when merchants would sample a range of coffees to determine which they wanted to buy and to ensure consistency.
Cupping was first utilized in Cup of Excellence contests in 1999, prompting the SCAA: Specialty Coffee Association of America (now the Specialty Coffee Association, SCA) to create criteria that were universally recognized by the international specialty community.
A typical coffee cupping process entails inhaling profoundly and then sucking the coffee with a spoon to aerate and spread it around the tongue.
The coffee taster tries to quantify the body (the texture or mouthfeel of the coffee, such as oiliness), sweetness, acidity (a harsh and sour sensation, similar to biting into an orange), flavor (the characters in the cup), and aftertaste.
Cuppers might try to identify the coffee’s origin by tasting the beans, which have distinct flavors from the region where they were grown.
The purpose of cupping
Coffee is not an actual commodity; Colombian coffee will not taste the same as Brazilian coffee. Arabica coffee grown in Central America is not a substitute for Arabica coffee grown in East Africa.
As a result, roasters are constantly seeking new ways to classify coffee to decide on price, which is the best way to do it. Identify each bean’s flavor character, or, in the case of specialty coffees, determine whether coffees are of sufficient quality to be sold under the “Specialty Coffee” label.
A coffee bean, on the other hand, may have a decent appearance on the exterior, such as color, the most uniform size, a defect-free surface, etc. Still, it may have undesirable flavors and variations due to processing, storage, or transportation from the farm to the roaster warehouse on the inside.
Only by tasting the coffee will you be able to tell. That’s why everyone in the coffee supply chain cups their coffee, including roasters, importers in consumer countries, and exporters in producer countries.
The Cupping Kit – The technique’s required tools
Concerning the environment: Bright enough, clean, no weird odors, room temperature 25-27oC, phone and audio device usage limited. Cupping should not be interrupted.
Technique’s required tools are: Scales, Cupping Glasses, Cupping Spoons, and an Evaluation Form.
In cupping, Scales are an indispensable tool. You’ll need them to get the best brewing ratio in cupping. The standard cupping ratio is 8.25 grams of coffee to 150 milliliters of water (based on a 1/6.3 ratio for all samples), with a tolerance of 0.25 grams.
Because the structure of the coffee bean is broken, numerous aroma components are released, and the rate of exposure to air is significant after grinding, the sample is only ground about 15 minutes before cupping. If this is not possible (due to crowds, etc. ), we should cover the sample carefully and make cupping within 30 minutes of grinding.
According to the experts, cuppers should start evaluating the scent of coffee at 71°C, but ideally at 65°C. According to this experiment, porcelain cupping cups, which weigh over 300g, have a faster cooling rate than cups made of other materials (like plastic or glass).
When 10g of coffee is combined with 180g of hot water, the cup temperature drops below 70°C in about 4 minutes and 30 seconds. Meanwhile, it takes 9 minutes for plastic utensils weighing 43g to bring the temperature of the coffee below 70°C.
As a result, the recommendation is that you prepare a thermometer to measure the temperature before you begin cupping to ensure more accuracy while tasting and avoid burns from excessive heat.
Spoon for cupping
Why do you need a spoon? Not just to brush off the coffee and look polite. The spoon helps you take a sip of coffee and more air into the oral cavity with the “snuff” motion.
We constantly exhale after eating fluids, and during exhalation, the olfactory region behind the nose opens. As we exhale, the liquid reaches the pharyngeal wall and is pushed over the olfactory epithelium.
Because aromas enter the nasal canal via the back of your nose rather than the front, it is called “Retronasal.” As a result, when we suck, the liquid splashes behind our mouth and lands on the throat wall, producing the same impact as normal swallowing.
Cupping cup made of glass (espresso)
The SCA recommends 5 to 6 ounce (207 ml to 266 ml) glass cups with a 3 to 3.5 inch (7.6 – 9 cm) glass rim for the Cupping technique. A porcelain crucible with 175-225 mL can also be utilized.
The cup must be odorless and clean, and the cover can be made of any material. All of the cups used in the cupping technique must be equal in weight, size, and material.
Evaluation Form (p
In 1984, the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA: the forerunner of the Specialty Coffee Association – SCA) created a scoring system. It was the first 100-point system for coffee, with ten attributes (categories) and a 10-point scale for each point.
The cupping sample contains seven attribute columns (Aroma, Flavor, Aftertaste, Acidity, Body, Balance, Overall) that are assessed on a scale of 6 to 10 based on their quality. As this scorecard is created to rate Specialty Coffees – which the SCA judges to be over 80 points – you must score at least 6.
As a result, scores of less than 6 or more than 10 are not acceptable for specialty coffees. In addition to the seven positive rating criteria listed above, the scorecard will include three attributes that are used to detect coffee flaws (Sweetness, Clean cup, Uniformity).
Finally, the minor division for each attribute point is 0.25, which means you can get 8.75 points for every attribute.