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Coffee Cupping - All senses in!

Similar to a wine tasting, a coffee cupping provides coffee enthusiasts a sensory experience that allows them to gain a greater appreciation for the aromas, flavors, and textures of specialty coffees.

The Practice of Cupping has been a method for determining the quality of coffee. It is to sample small brewed amounts to analyze and evaluate body, aromas, and flavor profiles. Cupping is a technical process that was developed by a Producer of green coffee beans to help determine the worth for a go-to-market price per harvest.

The evaluation and final quality classification are based on the cupper’s perception of quality. A cupper’s previous experience plays an important part in evaluating coffee, and by utilizing a numeric scale the coffee is rated, and a cupping score is determined. Below is the cupping score The Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) has developed to standardize Score Quality Classification.

SCA (Specialty Coffee Association) Total Score Quality Classification

90 – 100 – Outstanding – Specialty

85 – 99.99 – Excellent – Specialty

80 – 84.99 – Very Good – Specialty

< 80.0 – Below Specialty Quality – Not Specialty

Cupping is not only for the seasoned expert; anyone who loves coffee can enjoy the cupping experience at home. Cupping is a great way to gain appreciation of the “bean to cup journey” with beans sourced from different regions around the world. 

Cupping is a sensory encounter which involves using the sense of smell, taste, and sight throughout the process. The procedure involves deeply sniffing the coffee, then loudly slurping the coffee so it spreads to the back of the tongue for optimal exposure. This allows a cupper to recognize and appreciate the aromas, body, sweetness, acidity, and aftertaste.

Comparable to wine tasting, coffee cupping professionals have their own terminology as well when it comes to coffee tasting. Rather than just tasting, the terminology helps guide a cupper through revealing the complexity of what exactly they are tasting and what they should be tasting. 

The cupping process at home can be conducted slightly different, as not to score or classify the coffee, but to merely enjoy the experience to distinguish the unique flavors. Getting prepared for a cupping can be a bit overwhelming at first, yet with repetition, experience builds, and the ease of the process becomes second hand. Below is a high-level outline for conducting an informal home cupping experience. For a more in depth understanding and instruction see the SCA Cupping Protocols.

Cupping at home checklist:

  • Stock up on Bean Life Coffee’s specialty coffees.
  • Be sure to have the necessary equipment.
  • Invite friends and family to join in on the experience!
  • Set-up the cupping table with all the necessary equipment and ensure proper lighting.
  • Brew the coffee samples.
  • Cup the coffee.
  • Take notes to distinguish the coffee aromas and flavors.

Repeating this process with different types of coffee will help train a palate, and overtime build cupping confidence. Invite friends and family and create a coffee tasting event in a relaxing and fun atmosphere! 

Choose from Bean Life Coffee’s collection of coffee for your cupping adventure!