Cupping is the sensory evaluation of brewed coffee, a quality control procedure used to ensure that the finished product matches the characteristics of the coffee at origin, bringing you a consistent, authentic taste. Every product is cupped once packed by a highly attuned sensory panel of experts. Being a cupper requires training, testing, and constant evaluation to be able to scientifically quantify tastes and textures.
We primarily use the cupping technique for two main purposes: to approve of the green coffee we are purchasing, and ensure that the coffee we produce meets our high standards.
When cupping, an apprentice fills a small bowl with hot water and a high concentrate of coffee grounds. After steeping for several minutes, the crust (coffee that has solidified on top of the liquid) is cracked with a spoon, releasing the first burst of aroma, which is the first evaluation the six-point list of cupping criteria. The cupper then dips a metal spoon into the bowl and slurps a combination of coffee and air in order to coat all of their taste buds. The coffee is then evaluated on the following criteria:
Aromatic perception of gases released from brewed coffee.
Corporeal gustatory perception of hydrogen ions in brew, an actual sensation of the tongue, ranked by intensity.
Combination of Aroma and Taste with the modulation of basic taste profiles (sweet, sour, bitter, salty…).
The sensory perception of mouth feel from the fats, oils, and sediments.
Perceived flavor sensations that remain or emerge after the coffee has been swallowed or spit.
6. cupper’s points (balance)
The preference of the evaluator or overall liking (ranked -5 to +5).