What is coffee cupping?

It cannot be denied that nowadays hardly anyone can imagine a morning without a cup of aromatic coffee.

It is this drink - thanks to the caffeine content - that allows us to gain energy and strength for the next day. Moreover, the taste and aroma of this drink have a positive effect on our taste buds. Coffee is stimulating and simply tasty, so we reach for it more and more willingly. However, coffees are different, and therefore coffee cupping is becoming more and more popular. But what is it?

What is coffee cupping?

Coffee cupping has its tradition in the 19th century. It was then that the practice of coffee cupping began, because no one wanted to buy the proverbial cat in a poke. Therefore, every buyer wanted to taste the drink at the very beginning before deciding to buy it. Over the years, the form of coffee cupping has not evolved significantly. However, about 20 years ago, SCAA, or Specialty Coffee Association America, adopted an extremely structured form of cupping that is still used today. Coffee cupping is a technique used by sensory experts who want to assess not only the type of coffee, but also get to know its smell and taste. Cuppings of roasted coffee beans are particularly popular because they have the most intense aroma. Currently, coffee cupping is also used to detect specific defects in beans or to create blends. Coffee cuppings are now organized by professionals and by an increasing number of customers. They want to check which coffee meets their needs to the best extent possible. Thanks to cupping coffee, slurping it has taken on a completely different meaning.

How to do coffee cupping?

Over time, as many as 4 ways to conduct coffee cupping have been developed. Therefore, we can distinguish:

  • selective cupping - this is a form of cupping that dominates among people who buy and assess the quality of ground grain. Then they assess, for example: whether the grain has been roasted properly? and also for which consumer the grain will be intended? In this type of cupping, the grains are even broken down into sensory atoms.
  • descriptive cupping - this is a prestigious cupping used in the coffee industry. It involves the ability to isolate individual flavors based on the so-called sensory memory.
  • production cupping - this type of coffee cupping is, in turn, the domain of bean roasters. Then they look for answers to the questions: can the beans be roasted better? and what will the coffee taste like in a week?
  • Coffee cupping as a sport - this is probably one of the most original types of coffee cupping. It turns out that it took the form of a sports discipline. Competitors must have perfected the skills of comparing and distinguishing types of coffee.

As you can see, cupping coffee can be done in many ways, and each time it appeals to sensory skills. In practice, tasting and slurping coffee before purchasing it allows us to choose the best type of roasted beans to suit our needs.


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