If you've ever taken a close look at our bags of coffee, you may have noticed a section of tasting notes (chocolate, hazelnut, citrus, etc.). These are the natural flavors that the coffee puts forth, they are not added artificial flavors. Maybe you've wondered to yourself how we come up with those flavor notes just from tasting the coffee. Well, there's a special tasting method called cupping that gives us the best estimation of the flavors within each of our coffees! In this blog We'll share the process that goes into cupping coffee and give you some instruction on how you can do this process at home!
Let's Talk About Cupping Coffee
What Is Cupping?
The Process Of Cupping
Let's dive into the process of cupping and what you'll need to begin! (This will be formatted for cupping one coffee only. Usually we will cup several coffees at a time!)
- Two 5 0z glasses
- Soup Spoons
- Whichever coffee you want to try
- Bodum Gooseneck Water Kettle
- Bodum Bistro Electric Grinder
- OXO Food Scale
- Extra cups to rinse your spoon
*A recent cupping, set up in our roastery!
- Grind 18 grams of your coffee of choice to a medium coarse, resembling sea salt, into your 5 oz glass.
- Repeat this process with your second glass.
- Fill your glasses with boiling water to the brim(about 150 grams).
- Let steep for 4 minutes.
- After 4 minutes, take a spoon and gently break the crust that has formed on top of the cup with the back of the spoon. Enjoy the aroma of the coffee as you do so.
- Scoop any coffee grounds off the surface and discard them. Just off the surface though, don't discard too much of the liquid!
- Dip your spoon into the coffee, avoiding any ground residue as you do so.
- Slurp the coffee out of your spoon loudly (we know it seems weird but it's the best way to taste it since you want it to really coat your tongue) and after swallowing exhale through your nose.
When you first taste the coffee, it might seem as if it just tastes like... well coffee, but refer to the flavor wheel above and see if you can pick up on any of the tasting notes on it! You can also refer to the tasting notes that accompany most bags of coffee (ours included). We recommend doing this process with several coffees at once (maybe 3 or 4), as this will allow you to notice differences between the coffees.
To conclude our cupping discussion, this is the tried and true best way to identify flavor notes within coffees! Used all over the world by coffee roasters and folks at home. As a bonus, it's always more enjoyable to experience a cupping with another coffee lover. Cupping can be an event, so make it as extravagant or relaxed as you want. Have fun!
BONUS: Coffees to Cup
You can't go wrong cupping a Roaster Select. These are chosen for interesting and unique characteristics and it's alot of fun distinguishing these notes.
To give yourself a nice basic coffee, Brazil Cerrado is perfect. Not too much flare, just a good 'ol cup of joe to slurp.
Art Of Darkness
The Art of Darkness, being one of our darkest roasts, will give you an idea of the contrast in roast levels within the coffee industry. Cupping all three of these at the same time will give you a great idea of the different tasting notes in coffee!