Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Coffee Cupping (Abridged) Pt 1

Hello, readers!

If you have been following us on social media, you might have seen a few posts lately about Coffee “Cuppings.” This might have raised a few eyebrows for you. I know when someone first told me they were going to “Cup” Coffee, my eyebrows almost shot through the roof.
What the heck does that mean? You’re going to put coffee in a cup? Don’t we do that all the time? Isn’t cupping some weird kind of therapy Michael Phelps does? What does this have to do with my delicious cup of morning addiction?

Coffee Cupping could be considered one of the weirder things about the coffee industry as a whole. But it is something that almost anyone in the Specialty Coffee Industry does on a semi-regular basis. I cup so often that I recently acquired my own special cupping spoon (there was a ceremony, and people chanting “One of us! One of us!” It was a very odd experience)*

So what is cupping anyway?

Well, basically, cupping is a standardized way for an industry professional to taste and evaluate coffee. It’s used in a variety of places for a variety of reasons. A farmer may cup his coffee at the farm to make sure the quality is excellent. A distributor may cup a variety of coffees to choose which she wants in her warehouse. A roaster may cup coffees at different roast levels to figure out which level brings out the optimal flavors of the bean. Baristas may cup their coffees to determine flavor notes and communicate that to their customers.

But why should YOU cup?

Well, you might not be doing any of the things above, but it can still be an enjoyable experience! While you’re around the cupping table (yes, there is a special table) you might learn to describe tastes and expand your palette. You might also discover a coffee that you like, that you would have never thought you would have enjoyed! It’s also just a great way to learn more about coffee. And shouldn’t you know at least a little about that drink you drink every day?

But I’m nervous. I’ve never cupped before, and I won’t know what I’m doing! 

Let me put your mind at ease! The first time I cupped was with a group of seasoned cuppers, and I was super intimidated. But, I was surprisingly able to hold my own pretty well! And if I could, you definitely can! And if you’re nervous, that’s okay! Next week, I will be posting pt 2 of this saga. You’ll be able to read all about the cupping process in excruciating detail!

Still raising your eyebrows about this whole “cupping” business? Have you ever cupped before? Are you willing to give it a shot?
Drop a comment and tell me your thoughts!

 

Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @black_river_roasters to stay in the know about when our next cupping will be!

 

Footnotes:
*For the record, this was a joke. I actually came to work, and my boss had left it on my desk.

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