19 August 2020

Feel the Taste - Coffee Cupping

Coffee Cupping is one of the essential parts of the world of coffee. The purpose is to find out the coffee’s character, consistency level, quality, and defects to maintain the standard of coffee quality that will be given to the customers. However, there are factors to be focused on before doing Coffee Cupping, such as The form of coffee, roasting levels, coffee cupping tools. Further, not only those factors matter but also the process of Coffee Cupping are important. The tongue is the first sense to figure out the taste of the coffee. 


The tongue is divided into four parts: 

  • In front of your tongue is where you sense sweetness
  • Right in the middle of each side is where you sense sourness
  • The mid-back tongue is where you sense bitterness
  • Lastly, at the front of your tongue is where you sense salty

In Coffee Cupping there are 4 variables to be highlighted, those are:

  • Fragrance, the smell of coffee when the coffee is still dry
  • Aroma, the smell of coffee when water is already poured over
  • Acidity, the good acidity will produce fruity taste, while the acidity below/above the mark will create an unpleasant taste
  • Body, the thickness of coffee entering the mouth.  A thick body will give good results, even a light body still has good taste

The Steps in Coffee Cupping

  1. Weigh roasted beans as whole beans in cups
  2. Grind the coffees
  3. Evaluate the smell of coffees when the coffee is still dry
  4. Pour SCAA standard water in each of the cups as you start a timer
  5. After four minutes, wait to evaluate the wet aroma
  6. Use two spoons to skin off the grounds, oil, and foam

  7. After four minutes, taste the coffee with your spoon, slurp the coffee, and then put over your tongue to taste 

  8. After 4-5 minutes, repeat step 7 

  9. Wait 4-5 minutes, taste the coffees for the final impression

Coffee Cupping during Pandemic

Shaun is a trainer at the red bend barista academy. He launched the “clever COVID coffee Cupping” protocol of Cupping coffee. He said this method allowed for a consistent taste and avoid virus contamination. in Shaun's opinion, safety is the key to enjoy a cupping session with clients, friends, and others. Here’s what he recommends for the Home Cupping session:

  1. Before wetting with hot water, you can place the filter paper on the device
  2. Put the device into the server to warm it
  3. Add 30g of coffee into the dripper, make sure the pulp is even
  4. Add 500g of water into the coffee and wait for four minutes
  5. And you have to break the crust, and let everyone to smell the aroma
  6. And after five minutes put the dripper into the server and coffee must be filtered in 1 – 1:30 minutes
  7. Serve it and evaluate the taste of the coffee

During a pandemic, the clever dripper serves with the single sample cup. Shaun recommends using one dripper for each cup for avoiding virus contamination


Evaluating Flavor 

Every cup of coffee has its unique flavor, to grasp a bit more of what’s in your cup. All you need is to take some time to mindfully taste your coffee and you’ll find out a whole new world of flavors.

What is the Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel? 


The Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel is a device to describe the coffee flavor, developed by SCAA, and collaboration with the World Coffee Research in 2016. First published in 1995, this update is the largest and most collaborative piece of research on coffee flavor ever completed and much more accurate than the original.

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