What ‘Cupping’ Means In The Coffee Industry
For caffeine enthusiasts, enjoying a cherished cup of coffee is as much an act of the heart as it is of the tongue. Starting the day off on the right foot or making it through the workday are tasks that are ideally suited for coffee. Coffee cuppers are ideally suited for the task of ensuring that coffee tastes and smells as intended.
Coffee cupping, also known as coffee tasting, is a method for evaluating the texture, aroma, and flavor of coffee. This method is both delicious and essential. Roasters, baristas, and coffee shops that wish to educate their staff, ensure product consistency, and develop unique java flavors favor the standardized process, which is typically carried out by coffee professionals known as “Q Graders.” In an interview with Perfect Daily Grind, Chris Kornman of The Crown: Royal Coffee Lab & Tasting Room explains, “Cupping is just one of many ways to taste coffee, but it is a very efficient way to taste many different coffees side-by-side.”
Before brewing, a lengthy process of hulling, milling, polishing, and roasting is undertaken in order to obtain the ideal set of beans. That’s a lot of -ing words to remember, but it means that the beans are processed professionally before being sold or used. The journey from plant to cup is lengthy, and certain procedures must be adhered to.
During cupping, as described by the National Coffee Association, a taster evaluates the acidity and body of a brew by inhaling its aroma deeply and tasting small amounts, typically by quickly sipping a spoonful. This ensures that the coffee is properly aerated and distributed across the tongue of the taster. However, flavor is not the only factor considered during cupping: To ensure consistent quality and the successful completion of the beans’ journey, the cupper evaluates their texture and appearance before they are boiled in temperature-controlled water, or at the very least examines the grounds prior to brewing (according to Difford’s Guide).