Coffee Cupping, or Coffee Tasting, is tasting Coffee to assess its quality of Coffee. This is a professional practice by expert tasters “Q Graders” or anyone as long as you understand basic cupping techniques and a love of discovering coffee flavors. This article will give you the basics of Cupping.
Because each individual evaluates the tasting process, the coffee cupping basics process must follow a standard system with many factors, from tools, preparation, assessment practice, scoring, etc.
To achieve the most objective results for coffee quality. So it can be said, Cupping is not difficult at all, but it is not easy to properly cup.
Why Should We do Cupping?
Coffee is not a tangible commodity ( ). Coffee grown in Colombia cannot taste the same as Coffee in Brazil. Central American Arabica coffee is not a substitute for Arabica coffee produced in East Africa.
Therefore, roasters are always looking to classify Coffee to determine the price. The best way to do this is to do so. Determine the flavor profile of each bean, or in the case of specialty coffees, to discover which coffees are of high enough quality to be sold under the “Specialty Coffee” label.
Tasting is thought to have originated in the late 1800s when merchants would taste a variety of coffees to decide which Coffee they wanted to buy and also check for consistency.
In 1999, Cupping was used at Cup of Excellence competitions, leading to the creation of guidelines by the SCAA: Specialty Coffee Association of America (now the Specialty Coffee Association, SCA ) widely accepted by the international specialty community.
Today, the Specialty Coffee industry uses the same method of tasting as 19th-century merchants did: to assess Coffee’s character, make purchasing decisions, and confirm consistency. “Cupping is a standardized method and language that can be used and understood anywhere,” says Chris Kornman from Royal Coffee.
Valid and effective in Coffee Cupping Basics
On the other hand, a coffee bean has a good appearance on the outside, i.e., color, the most uniform size, the surface is free of defects, etc… Still, it can contain negative flavors variation due to processing, storage, or transportation from farm to roaster warehouse.
The only way to know – is to taste the Coffee. This is why everyone in the coffee supply chain, from roasters, importers in consuming countries, and exporters in producing countries, cups their Coffee.
Ultimately, aromatherapy is the most effective way to simultaneously evaluate dozens of different coffee samples. For example, a buyer might want to try ten different coffees from Guatemala.
As a precaution, in the case of Coffee with defective beans, the buyer may choose to prepare five copies of each Coffee. This means that there need to be 50 cups on the tasting table at a time.
The tasting method helps achieve this, requiring less than 10 seconds per cup to brew. With the rule of thumb in the test, two bartenders could make 50 cups in just over 4 minutes, and the only equipment needed was two large kettles, a seasoning cup, a spoon, and a scale.
The popularity of cupping in the coffee industry
Previously, smallholder farmers were the only people in the supply chain not cupping their Coffee. Today, modern and accessible cupping protocols are available for Arabica and Robusta coffees.
Cupping training is provided not only by the Specialty Coffee Association ( SCA ) but also by organizations, associations, coffee shop roasters, etc., in producing and consuming countries.
As a result, small coffee farmers can now initiate the necessary steps to cupping to improve the quality of their products and better understand the changing market requirements over time. Cease.
For over 400 years, coffee cupping has been an informal art, passed down by word of mouth for generations, and considered an advanced, specialized skill, available only to roasters & importers & exporters.
Until 1984, there was no official printed text on Cupping, other than some general descriptions noted by William H. Ukers in his classic, All About Coffee, published in 1922. It was not until 1984. The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) has released the first edition of The Coffee Cuppers’ Handbook.
Technical standards for Cupping Basics
The SCAA’s Arabica cupping standard evolved from a specialty coffee promotion program of Coffee International (CQI) that began in 1999.
Although five countries are participating in the program, the standard cupping standard was initially developed for Arabica coffee from Brazil – where the cupping Coffee is selected before being auctioned. To conduct a cupping competition, a standardized tasting format is required and a standard format for roasting and brewing coffee.
Over five years, the SCAA Cupping standard has evolved through much trial and error into a system of 10 quality attributes, each of which is given 10 points, hence the assessment of Coffee. Specialties will be based on a 100-point scale.
The 100-point scale was determined to be the easiest to understand for people both inside and outside the coffee industry.
The most recent version of the cupping technique documented in the Coffee Cuppers’ Handbook includes ten quality attributes: (1) fragrance/aroma ; (2) flavor ; (3) aftertaste ; (4) ac Identity ; (5) body ; (6) uniformity ; (7) balance ; (8) clean cup ; (9) sweetness; and (10) overall.
The first five quality attributes are based on the chemical and physical properties of the coffee flavor. Uniformity, clean cup, and sweetness are added because they represent the quality of the processing during the harvesting and processing of the beans. These properties will be covered in more detail in the Cupping Technique.
Why do we call Cupping a technique?
The SCA Coffee Cupping Handbook has helped transform the traditional purely handmade Cupping into a “Cupping Technique” based on experience and practice. Chemistry & physics have formed the framework and science underpinning coffee flavor properties, so the “art of cupping” will not fully represent it.
The purpose of Cupping is not just to enjoy Coffee because you can choose from a lot of manual ways to enjoy Coffee like Pour Over V60, French Press, or a little fussy like Siphon, Espresso … While Cupping is used for commercial purposes, to assess the quality of purchased Coffee. So to some extent, Cupping is a job that requires accuracy, consistency, and many elements of expertise.
Secondly, Cupping requires very high technique; it falls within the category of sensory evaluation science, related to the physiology of taste and smell. Each stage in this process needs to be precisely regulated to achieve the most objective results—Professional Cuppers, well-trained in SCA’s coffee tasting skills and certified by SCA/Q-Graders.
Basic cupping coffee
With the technical standards for coffee tasting given by the Technical Standards Committee of SCAA ( Specialty Coffee Association – American Specialty Coffee Association ), we will learn all through the main sections in turn. The following:
- Part 1: Basics concepts of the Cupping technique
- Part 2: Cupping- SCA. sample preparation equipment, tools, and methods
- Part 3: Sample assessment and scoring in Cupping – SCA
- Part 4 (latest): Cupping skills for beginners.
You can also download SCA’s Cuppers Handbook for further study.
To become a Coffee Cupping Basics expert
This problem is straightforward, Just read all the articles about Cupping and working hard!
First, stay humble and learn.
If you are a Barista (barista) or a Roaster (coffee roaster), you will like to work independently. Still, these people also need to exchange experiences with friends and colleagues, so Cupper Emphasizes the team role the best cuppers are humble and eager to learn more.
It sounds “exaggerated” when someone cups some coffee by themselves and claims that they know the taste of Coffee. Let’s learn more cupping basics to give more knowledge.
Second, don’t be intimidated by people trying to impress with abstract depictions on a coffee mug.
Coffee tasting is not the same as the cooking competition, so there will be no out-of-the-ordinary things; fluency in words is not a sign of good cupping skills. On the other hand, the description of the coffee cup should not be too dry and stiff with the definitions because if you love Coffee, you will find it contains a lot of exciting things.
In short, the secret to becoming a good Cupper is simple: Believe in yourself by practicing regularly and be humble enough to keep learning from others.
Above are the cupping basics. I hope you understand more about coffee cupping techniques and have yourself a delicious cup of Coffee.
- Coffee Cupping Basics– http://www.scaa.org
- Tasting Coffee – http://www.coffeeresearch.org/
- Coffee Cupping: A Basic Introduction – www.hasbean.co.uk
- The Craft and Science of Coffee – Britta Folmer; Chapter 8: Cupping and Grading Discovering Character and Quality
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