Cupping is the standardised method for evaluating the quality of coffee up and down the supply chain.
Cupping is the standardised method for evaluating the quality of coffee up and down the supply chain from producer to coffee shop primarily with the purchase or sale of coffee in mind, other uses include: quality control and education.
How do you cup?
A table of coffees roasted the day before are equally dosed and laid out in groups of five bowls per sample, these are ground on a fixed setting, fragrance notes are taken on a cupping sheet, water is then added from a boiler held at 96 °C after waiting out the four minute infusion time comes what is commonly referred to as the break, this is where bowl by bowl, stirring three times each in table order you break what is known as the crust and note down aromas as you pass, the final step before tasting the coffee comes in the form of the clear, in which you use two spoons to skim what remains of the crust from the surface. Tasting commences at around twelve minutes where a cupping spoons worth of coffee is aspirated over your palette enabling you to note the sensations it evokes.
What do you look for whilst cupping?
Simply put quality. Using the Cup of Excellence attributes of Flavour, Aftertaste, Acidity, Mouthfeel, Balance,Sweetness, Clean Cup and Overall it informs purchase decisions, allows us to relay feedback to producers and ensure pre-shipments match arrivals.
Looking further into attributes:
The five tastes of sour, sweet, salt, bitter, and umami plus aromas including flowery, fruity, herby nutty, caramelly, chocolaty are evaluated along with their combinations.
The remnants of tastes and aromas left behind after swallowing, for example a lingering bitterness or a slowly fading honeyed aroma. An aftertaste can either strengthen or weaken the overall impression of a coffee.
The quality of acidity is considered over the quantity, valued in complexity, character and type.
The sensations in your mouth encompassing viscosity, texture, weight and density such as silky, heavy and chewy measured again in quality not quantity which can be increase in the roaster.
Does the coffee have a pointed acidity? lack sweetness? or are all attributes harmonious and complimentary.
This attribute can be enhanced through harvest and processing decisions yet mostly reduced during the roast.
A transparency in the cup, the complete absence of taints and faults such as sour, ferment, earth, wood and phenol, providing uninterrupted access to the coffees potential.
Is the coffee simply good drinking coffee or does it jump out of the cup, this field is used to make an evaluation based on personal preference.
13.5g Coffee / 200g Brew Water Weight
Moisture is accounted for at 3%
CO2 is accounted for at 2%
Goal % EXT 19% / Goal % TDS 1.20
Cupped the next day
Grind Size: <0.75 mm
Water Hardness: 150 ppm
Water Temperature: 96 °C from font.