Coffee Cupping 101

Published on: 4/26/19

There is an art to coffee tasting. Understanding how to find flavor notes in a cup of coffee can be a daunting task, and it takes experience to train your palette and taste buds to pull out specific flavors. In the coffee world, the best way to do this is through cupping. We’ll break down the steps for you to make it a bit easier!

Cupping is the process most commonly used by coffee roasters and coffeeshops to taste coffee, determine specific flavor notes and be able to share those notes with their customer base.

Cuppings can also be used to train an individual coffee drinker on what they like in a cup of coffee, what notes they taste, and to learn more about what they are consuming.

The process of cupping is pretty simple. To properly cup a coffee, you need 12 – 15 grams of ground coffee, hot water, a bowl, and a spoon. The ground coffee is added to the bowl and the boil is filled up with hot water. The water and coffee will begin to brew. Two minutes into the brewing process, you’ll take the spoon, push down the grounds, and lightly stir them. This allows the coffee taster to smell the aroma that is released in the brewing process. At four and a half minutes, the coffee grounds should be scooped out of the bowl and into the trash. This stops the brewing process and begins to cool the coffee. You’ll want to assess the color of the coffee during this time. Dip your spoon in the cup and then slurp the coffee like you are slipping soup. The louder the slurp the better. This allows the coffee to hit all of the taste buds on the tongue at the same time, giving you the truest look at the coffee flavor.

Cuppings often include multiple coffees, cupped at the same time in multiple bowls. This gives you an average, accurate reading of the coffee tasting notes. Coffee cuppings, are also best done together. We offer the opportunity to taste multiple coffees alongside 12 of your peers through monthly public cuppings at our Carmel coffeeshop location. Our staff does an excellent job guiding you through the process, making these events great for first time attendees. Remember that just like anything, it takes practice! We’d love to see you at one of our cuppings, taking place the third Thursday of each month. Sign up through our website or reach out with any questions, hello@indiecoffeeroasters.com.

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