November 01, 2019
Coffee Cupping: The Key to a Delicious Drink
Each year we provide millions of cups of coffee to hardworking offices around the globe. And with each and every cup we make sure your coffee tastes like it should: fresh, hot and revitalizing. However, getting flavor consistency cup after cup isn’t easy: our team of food scientists obsess over every bean, tasting and refining to make sure your drink is perfect every time.
The heart of this process is called coffee cupping. Cupping involves tasting and observing the aroma of coffee. We cup every single lot of coffee we purchase, first at origin and then once it gets the US for roasting and grinding. This ensures quality and gives our customers a consistent experience cup after cup.
Rebecca Williams, Coffee Development Technologist here at Lavazza Professional, is a certified Q Grader, which means she is trained in the art of cupping based on the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) practices. Much like a sommelier tastes wine, Q Graders evaluate coffee across a variety of different attributes. Today she walks us through the steps of a coffee cupping:
Step by Step Cupping Guide
- Measure out beans for each cup and grind individually.
- Get the dry aroma of the coffee by smelling the grinds. Take note of the aroma of each coffee.
- Pour water over the dry coffee in each cup. Make sure you get all the grounds wet.
- You’ll notice a “crust” of coffee grounds forming on the surface of the cup. Begin “breaking” the crust, using your spoon to push the coffee grounds to the back of the cup.
- Using two spoons, remove the additional grounds from the surface of the coffee.
- Slurp the coffee! Your tongue can taste the four basic flavors, but can not taste others. By slurping the coffee you aerate it in your mouth, introducing retronasal olfaction or “mouth smelling”. You may have seen people slurp wine in a similar manner during a wine tasting- it’s all about tasting those complex flavors!
- As you taste, look for off putting notes, but also think about what this coffee offers from a flavor perspective. Does it taste of tobacco, chocolate, or have a lemony attribute?
- The team discusses and the coffee either passes or fails our standards.
Regular cupping allows us to provide consistency and makes sure we’re delivering the quality you expect from Lavazza Professional. For more in-depth instructions on cupping, please check out the Specialty Coffee Association guidelines.