All About Cupping
Have you ever wondered how to get the absolute purest flavor from your coffee? Roasters, green coffee buyers, and baristas often use a brew method called “cupping” to extract exacting flavors from a bean. This is a brew method that is absolutely not for daily consumption, as it generates a lot of sediment, but it’s fun to try it and see how the pros brew for in depth tasting and quality control!
You’ll want to use a coarse grind setting for cupping, as it’s an immersion brewing style. The consistency of the grounds should be similar to sea salt. Because of this, you’ll want to use a brew grinder. An espresso grinder won’t be able to brew coarse enough consistently. We recommend a 1:15 ratio of coffee to water, but some may prefer going a bit stronger. Start by grinding a few grams to clear the grind chamber and chute of any excess grounds from your last use. You may also want to grind and brew twice as much to ensure no irregularities in your vessels are imparting flavor. For the best results, use a cupping bowl. If you don’t have one of those handy (which we would expect!) then you can use any soup mug type vessel.
So at this point you should have one or two bowls with your grounds in them. Take a moment to smell them and get the full aromatic profile of the dry grounds. As you do this, you should heat your water to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Once your water is up to temperature, you should start a stopwatch and begin your pour. You’ll want to use that 1:15 ratio, so that means 150 grams of water if you ground 10 grams of coffee. Pour the entire amount in one go, then take in the smell of the coffee while wet and brewing. At 4 minutes on your stopwatch you’ll want to break the crust on each bowl with a spoon by pushing the grounds to one side of the bowl. After you do this, use this spoon (you made need a second one) to remove the grounds floating on top of the bowl. Remember to rinse your spoons in between if you’re working with more than one bowl!
At around 13 minutes on your stopwatch it’s time to start tasting. Use your freshly rinsed spoon to slurp some of the coffee. You want to spread it across your mouth and tongue to see how the flavors hit different parts of your palate. You should also be taking in the aroma of the coffee during this process. Keeping having spoonfuls every minute or so as the coffee cools; the flavors change during this process of losing heat!
It’s important to note that everyone’s palate is different here. If you’re tasting with another person you may each find different flavors and aromas in the coffees. There’s no wrong answers! To make this cupping process a fun game, you can use a bag you haven’t tried before without looking at the notes. See what you taste, and compare them!