- In Chapter 2 we explore the best protocols to ensure that your brewing is standardised across each cupping bowl.
- We determine the best way to establish your cupping grind setting.
- We look into the science of breaking the crust and examine how turbulence, or the lack of it, impacts extraction yields.
Why the Cupping Method?
The cupping method is used almost universally by buyers and importers as a way to assess the quality of coffee samples. The practice goes back at least as far as the 1930s — the so-called Liquoring Department of the Kenyan Coffee Board was established in 1935. ‘Liquoring’, an old term for cupping, is still commonly used in Ethiopia and Kenya.
The cupping method is the most efficient way to brew dozens of different samples simultaneously. For example, a buyer might want to try ten different coffees from Guatemala. To be cautious, in case the coffee contains defective beans, the buyer might choose to prepare five replicas of each coffee. This means 50 cups are required on the cupping table at the same time. The cupping method can achieve this result, requiring less than 10 seconds per cup to brew. The rate-limiting factor in a cupping is simply how long it takes to accurately portion enough hot water into a cupping bowl. Two baristas can brew 50 cups in just over 4 minutes, and the only equipment required is two large kettles, cupping bowls, spoons and a scale. This chapter seeks to modernise and standardise established cupping protocols.