Coffee suppliers never enter into contracts without sampling the coffee. Concluding a contract involves reconnaissance in force, and in the case of coffee professionals this will be cupping.
Cupping is a standardized method used by coffee professionals to evaluate the quality and characteristics of green coffee beans. Once the suppliers have contacted the farmers, they carry out a cupping exercise, which results in sourcing green coffee beans. The cupping process looks like this:
- A selection of green coffee samples from different batches is carried out.
- Test portions are weighed from each sample – usually 8.25 grams of coffee per 150 milliliters of water. Each sample portion is ground into a coarse grind typically used for French press.
- Before brewing coffee, tasters evaluate the dry aroma of the ground coffee – taking a deep breath over the cup helps detect distinct aromas that can indicate potential flavor notes from the beans.
- Coffee grounds are poured with hot water and infused for about 4 minutes. This process, known as “crust breaking,” involves breaking down the layer of coffee grounds that forms on the surface.
- After breaking the crust, tasters inhale the moist aroma of coffee ещ identify the various aromatic compounds released during the brewing process.
- Any remaining coffee ground is removed from the surface in order to provide a clean and consistent assessment of the coffee’s taste.
- Tasters sip the coffee with a spoon while making a loud noise. This technique helps distribute the coffee to your palate, providing a well-rounded taste.
- Tasters evaluate and take detailed notes on various aspects of coffee, including acidity, body, balance, sweetness, and specific flavor profiles. Cupping scorecards help ensure consistency and make it easier to communicate with others.
- After that tasters repeat the cupping process for each sample to directly compare different green coffees. This comparative approach helps identify exceptional qualities and select the best beans.