Tips for Cupping like a Pro

Have you ever wondered what people were doing when they spoon out a bit of coffee from a bowl and slurp it? Have you ever questioned why they do it? Is it really necessary to make such loud and funny noises? Never fear; we are here to give you tips for cupping like a coffee professional.

This spoon and slurp action is what we refer to as cupping. It’s originally introduced to grade and assess the quality of green coffee beans and determine its characteristics for green coffee bean buyers. Later on, this protocol has been adapted by coffee roasters and professionals to quality control roasted coffees. When green bean buyers cup coffees, it’s most likely the very first time they are cupping a specific lot or batch of coffee for that year, or ever. In this case, they are looking for two things:

  1. What are the flavour profiles and qualities this coffee has to offer?
  2. Whether they can taste any undesired defect flavours created either during growing, harvesting, processing and /or storage.

Coffee roasters and professionals tend to cup same coffees on a regular basis. Some call it production cupping. This is an important way to quality control roasted coffee beans. In this type of cupping, we are looking at whether the bean has been roasted to showcase the flavour we desire without any undesired flavours generated by roasting defects.

To slurp or not to slurp

The reason we slurp is to vaporise liquids to cover all tongue and most areas in mouth. This way, we can better assess flavours and textures. This action introduces air into the mouth among coffee liquid to more effectively assess the back nose/ in mouth aromas. It’s still debatable if the louder and harder you slurp the better you can taste. It really comes down to individual difference and preference.

In order to set up and complete an effective cupping, there are a series of protocols that need to be followed. Just like all other things, improvement comes from practice. The more you cup, the better your tasting senses will become.

Happy cupping!

For more info on cupping, click here.