Test Your Coffee Taste Buds

At Community Coffee Company, our experts cup our beans every week to test, taste, rate and discuss our coffee on every step of its journey. Cupping is a technique used by coffee producers and buyers to assess the quality of the coffee. This process involves tasting several blends and noting different aspects of the coffee in mouthfeel, sweetness, and flavors.

Cupping doesn’t have to be reserved for the experts, though—you can easily try this at home! Put your taste buds to the test and decide which roasts you prefer.

By cupping coffee, you will be able to learn more about flavor, aroma and body. Read the steps below to set up your own cupping experience.

Cupping Coffee at Home

To start, you will need three to four different coffees, identical cups, a spoon for each taster, scales, and a bowl to collect wet grounds. The first step is to set up your glasses for the cupping process. We suggest setting up in an area where there is ample room to move around, like a dinner table.

Place identical glasses around the table with a sticky note on the bottom detailing which coffee blend will be in that cup. This way, you can’t see which coffee is in each cup and aren’t influenced when cupping. Once you have finished setting up, it’s time to start the process!

  1. You will need two glasses per coffee you are tasting. The ratio varies based on what you prefer, but a starting ratio is 8.25g of coffee per 150mL of boiled water, according to the Specialty Coffee Association.
  2. Boil filtered water on the stove.
  3. While the water is boiling, grind up the beans for each cup individually. Make sure you brush out the grinding chamber and empty out all remaining grinds each time. You don’t want the coffee grinds to mix and disrupt the pure flavor of each blend.
  4. Once the grounds are in their respective cups, sniff the grounds to get a sense of the various scents.
  5. When the water comes to a boil, remove it from the heat for 25 seconds.
  6. Pour the water into the cups based on which coffee was ground first. Fill the cups from the oldest to newest. Make sure each cup is filled to the same level.
  7. Set a timer for four minutes. After four minutes, the coffee grounds should start to settle and a “crust” will form at the top of the cup.
  8. You are now going to break the “crust.” Use the back of your spoon to puncture the crust, like you would with a crème brûlée. Put your face close to the cup and waft your hand to your nose to smell the aromas. Take note of any new scents you notice.
  9. Rinse the spoon you used to break the crust in a glass of hot water and continue on to the next cup.
  10. Once you have broken the crust on the remaining blends, make sure to remove any floating grounds.
  11. Fifteen minutes after the first pour, your cups should have cooled and you will be able to taste more flavors. Take a spoonful of each coffee and slurp it quickly. By slurping, you aerate the coffee so it coats your palate and you will taste more flavor and aroma.
  12. Make note of the different flavors you taste.
  13. Rinse your spoon between each slurp.
  14. Once you’ve tasted all the blends, taste each of them one more time. Try and see if you notice other flavors that you missed before.
  15. If you are tasting with other people, it is finally time to discuss! Compare notes and see what other people perceived that you missed.

Are you ready to try cupping coffee? Test out your taste buds with some of our favorite blends!