Coffee Quality Control

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How to Set Up a Cupping

CQC 2.07 The BH Cupping Protocol

  • Choose the coffees you want to cup. We recommend you cup no more than twelve samples at one time.
    • Sampling more than twelve cups is feasible if you are performing ‘go / no-go’ checks for production roasting.
  • Assemble a sufficient number of cupping bowls with a capacity between 150–200 ml.
    • Cupping bowls should be dry, odourless, and at room temperature.
  • Prepare between 2–6 bowls of each sample you wish to cup.
    • One cup per sample is sufficient only if you are conducting a roast assessment.
    • Cup on a brew ratio of 55 g/L (grams per litre).
    • We recommend 10 g of coffee per sample, plus enough to purge the grinder before you begin to grind the coffee for each bowl.
  • Label the samples such that you are unaware of the identity of each after you have ground them and randomised their order.
    • We recommend you use a label that can remain with each sample but be kept upside down (and out of sight) as you grind and arrange the samples on the cupping table.
  • Purge your grinder with a few beans taken from the sample you are about to grind for.
  • Grind your coffee on a setting that brings your best coffees to approximately 1.4% total dissolved solids after 8 minutes. (Refer to the BH Refractometry Protocols.)
    • Every bowl should be checked with a scale to ensure it is accurate to within ∓1 g.
  • Position the samples around your cupping table, keeping them arranged in order.
  • Start a timer and begin to add hot water (just after a rolling boil) to each cup, weighing the water precisely for each bowl ∓2 g.
    • Hot water should be odourless, have a pH between 7.0–7.4, and have a level of buffer no higher than 70 ppm.
  • Aim to fill bowls quickly but without making a mess.
    • Spend the same amount of time filling each bowl,