“May you taste, smell, and touch your dreams of a beautiful tomorrow.” – Jonathan Lockwood Huie, philosopher of happiness
Coffee experts and aficionados organize coffee cuppings to taste, analyze and grade various samples of different beans for quality. Exactness and patience are vital skills for successful cupping sessions.
Coffee cupping events are fun and filled with mystery. After all, each coffee bean sample is telling the story of a farm and its farmers. Coffee beans are mirrors of the soil and the climatic environment in which the plants were cultivated. Coffee cuppings highlight the special characteristics of the various different coffee plant varieties. Last but not least, the physical and sensorial characteristics of the beans are also a result of the roasting method.
Standards for coffee cupping
Coffee cupping is a precise methodical process with universally recognized activities and ratios. The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) has established specific standards for cupping:
- the ratio of 8.25 grams (whole bean) coffee (± 0.25 grams), to 5.07 fluid ounces (150 ml)
- Cupping vessels shall be of tempered glass or ceramic material. They shall be between 7 and 9 fluid ounces (207 ml to 266 ml), with a top diameter of between 3 and 3.5 inches (76 – 89 mm).
- Cupping water temperature shall be 200°F ± 2°F (92.2 – 94.4°C) when poured on grounds.
- The coffee used for cupping shall be ground so that 70-75 percent of the grinds pass through the 20 mesh sieve.
- The roasting of coffee for cupping shall take between 8 and 12 minutes, and shall be used for cupping between 8 and 24 hours after roasting.
- Cupping spoons shall hold 0.135 – 0.169 fluid ounces (4-5 ml) of coffee sample and should be of non-reactive metal.