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COFFEE CUPPING BREWING GUIDE

‘Coffee cupping’ is a method of brewing and tasting that coffee professionals use throughout the entire coffee production process to determine the quality of a given coffee. It’s also an excellent way to quickly develop your sense of taste and learn what coffees you like best.

The general methodology is to place ground coffee in your drinking vessel, pour hot water in and let it extract undisturbed for 4 minutes, then stir the crust that has formed on the top, clean out any scuzz that’s left, and (after it cools to a temperature that won’t burn your tongue) you’re ready to taste!

RATIO: 1:17 (i.e. 9g coffee, 150g water)
GRIND: Halfway between the consistency of sand & coarse salt, a bit coarser than standard drip coffee

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:

  • Deep, larger spoon
  • 2-4 small bowls/cups of similar size (or however many coffees you want to taste)
  • Coffee
  • Water Kettle
  • Scale
  • Grinder

STEP 1

PREPARE

Figure out your measurements.

We’ll use a 1:17 ratio of coffee:water. Determine how many grams of water your vessel will hold. Subtract roughly 50 grams from that total to account for room for the coffee to bloom. Divide your final number by 17. We’ll use the example of a 7oz. cup for this set of instructions.

7oz = 198g
198g-50g = 150g (this is your water total, we rounded)
150/17 = 9g (this is your coffee total, we rounded again)

Start boiling your water.

STEP 2

WEIGH & GRIND

Weigh out coffee. (9g for each coffee you are cupping, if using a 7oz. cup)

Grind coffee similar to a consistency that’s somewhere between sand and coarse salt — just a bit coarser than a standard drip grind.

STEP 3

BREW

Place the ground coffee in your cup and fill nearly to the brim with water.

Set a timer for 4 minutes.
Pro tip: While the coffee is brewing, you can take note of the aroma the coffee has by putting your nose close to the crust and inhaling slowly. Sometimes, you’ll notice these aromas as you are slurping the coffee later on too.

STEP 4

STIR & SKIM

When the timer goes off, stop the brewing process by ‘breaking the crust’ and stirring the foamy grounds that have risen to the top (we call this the crust.)
Pro tip: With the first plunge of the spoon into the cup, get your nose down real close and inhale as you are breaking the top crust. You might smell the same aromas as before, just more strongly, or you may smell something different! It’s all smell-y adventure. (But, like, not bad smelly…)

Use your spoons to skim off and discard any floaty-bits that are left on the top. You want to have a completely ‘clean’ top without any lighter colored leftovers.

STEP 5

WAIT, THEN TASTE!

Wait 15 more minutes. Waiting that last bit of time is a crucial step to avoid burning your tongue and allow the coffee to drop to a temperature where you can taste its nuance.

Taste! You’ll do this by filling your spoon with coffee from the vessel and slurping it up. (Yes, you will need to make a semi-ridiculous noise.) Slurping coffee ensures you get air in the mix and sprays the coffee over your entire mouth, enabling all the taste bud receptors to best perceive the taste.

If you’re tasting more than one coffee at a time, you can ask yourself how they differ. Which is more intense? Which has more sweetness or acidity? Which do you prefer?

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