This is from Boyd's Coffee and certainly differs from the approach I've
been using. I think I'm going to do this with our next cupping and see
how everyone reacts.
Cupping is the traditional procedure in the coffee industry to evaluate
the quality of sample of green coffee. Individual cups of varietal
coffees are prepared according to established guidelines. The purpose is
to compare the samples with the buyer's needs for roasting and blending,
or to match the quality of a sample to a stated purchase agreement. At
least two samples of each coffee are compared for consistency and
Blends of roasted coffees are also cupped. The formula of coffees used
in a blend may change from delivery to delivery, so blended coffees are
cupped to assure that the "blend profile" is consistent.
To cup coffee:
Prepare a sample by placing 10 grams of fresh-roasted ground coffee in a
cup that holds 6 fluid ounces.
Smell the aromatic components released from the sample to evaluate the
Pour nearly boiling water over the ground coffee.
Smell the aroma from the cup immediately after adding the hot water.
Let the sample steep for 3 to 5 minutes, then stir briefly.
While stirring the sample, take a long, deep sniff to evaluate the wet
Skim and discard the coffee foam from the surface of the sample.
Take a spoonful of the beverage into your mouth and slurp it to spread
the fluid evenly across the tongue and into the back of the throat,
covering your entire palate.
Hold the brew in your mouth for 3 to 5 seconds and then spit it out.
Slid your tongue across the roof of your mouth to evaluate texture of
The four standard characteristic evaluate by cupping are aroma, flavor
acidity and body. Very specific terminology is used to evaluate those
characteristics. Note, acidity in coffee is a desired flavor
characteristic that adds sparkle and vitality to the beverage.
Example, aroma can be descried as floral, spicy, fruity, winey, sweet,
woody, nutty, musty or earthy. Flavor can be sweet, fruity, sour,
bitter, rich, smooth, sharp or balanced. Acidity can be bright, vibrant,
sharp, thin, mild, flat or neutral. body can be full, thick, heavy,
buttery, thin, medium, flat or neutral.
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