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Manage a espresso cupping at dwelling

A wooden table with porcelain cups laid out in front of coffee bags. The bags each represent a different coffee that will be tasted.

Organizing a espresso cupping with family and friends could be the proper method to begin studying extra about espresso whereas having enjoyable on the identical time (and ingesting quite a lot of espresso, after all). 


Cowl photograph by Tanya Nanetti

Due to its straightforward and repeatable process, cupping at house is an effective way to strive new coffees and examine them, begin recognizing new flavors and new traits, and delve into the marvelously complicated world of espresso. 

You don’t want many instruments to prepare a cupping; in the event you’re already a espresso brewer, you in all probability have quite a lot of them available!

What You’ll Want 

  • A kettle (in case you have one with temperature management, even higher) 
  • A scale  
  • A espresso grinder  
  • Cups or bowls (as many as there are coffees to strive, all the identical dimension and form, about 200/220ml) 
  • Spoons (one per particular person) 
  • A timer 
  • Two or three glasses filled with scorching water (to rinse the spoons)  
  • Some spitting cups 
  • Ingesting water and cups 
  • Taste wheel (optionally available) 
  • Espresso, as many luggage as you need to strive—about 5 to seven coffees from totally different origins, presumably processed in a different way, is an efficient place to begin
Coffee cups containing ground coffee, labeled with slips of paper. They are waiting to be covered in boiling water to brew.
Labeling espresso cups will assist preserve you monitor of what you’ve tasted. Photograph by Tanya Nanetti.

Getting Began

Start by getting ready in a straight line as many cups as you need to use for cupping, one for every espresso. Label the underside to ensure that if one thing occurs and the cups get combined up, you’ll nonetheless know which espresso was during which cup. 

Grind the coffees barely coarser than your basic pourover dimension (round 25 clicks on the Comandante ought to be high quality), put every espresso in its personal cup, and scent. 

In the meantime, warmth the water. In case your kettle has temperature management, 92°C (198°F) is ideal. In any other case, let the water boil after which wait two minutes earlier than pouring it to let it settle down a bit. 

A hand pours hot water from a gooseneck kettle over coffee grounds into clear glass cups.
A gooseneck kettle helps you pour an excellent movement of water. Photograph by Nuno Alexandre.


Begin the timer and start pouring the water on the primary espresso, working down the road and pouring the water at all times in the identical fashion. Fill every with a 17:1 ratio of water to espresso. Notice that in case you have quite a lot of coffees, one kettle of water gained’t be sufficient, so be ready to ask somebody to warmth up some additional water as you begin pouring. 

A person uses two spoons to break the crust of coffee grounds on top of a white porcelain cup of coffee during cupping.
Breaking the crust of grounds releases gasses within the cup. Photograph by Nuno Alexandre.

Breaking the Crust

When the timer reaches 4 minutes, break the crust on high of the cups with the again of a spoon: when the crust breaks, the espresso will launch gasses. Don’t overlook to scent, attempting to catch some aromas. Then, utilizing a second spoon, take away the crust. Do the identical for every espresso, following the road. 


When the timer reaches 10 minutes, it’s lastly time to begin tasting. Take a spoonful of the primary espresso and slurp rapidly: This can assist to higher unfold the espresso all through your mouth, so you possibly can style extra aromas and flavors. Repeat for all cups following the road, remembering to rinse the spoon after every tasting.  

Style every espresso a number of occasions till it cools down; this fashion you’ll have the ability to discover how a espresso differs when it cools down. Alongside the best way, keep in mind to at all times preserve your self hydrated by ingesting sufficient water. And if the espresso begins to be an excessive amount of, don’t be ashamed to make use of a spitting cup to spit after tasting. 

The same wood table, porcelain cups and coffee bags. A man leans over coffee to smell as it brews in the cup, preparing to be tasted.
Smelling the espresso will assist put together you to style the flavors current. Photograph by Tanya Nanetti.

Savor the Flavors

What must you be searching for? Begin with the fundamental traits: acidity, bitterness, and sweetness. Take into consideration the physique: Is it skinny? Does it have a velvety mouthfeel? Contemplate the roasting and the aftertaste. (Does it linger? Is it bitter or candy?)

Alongside the best way, begin to observe any taste chances are you’ll acknowledge: Having one of many many variations of the Taste Wheel at hand, simply accessible on-line like the one proposed by Counter Tradition Espresso, can actually assist. 

Simply begin from the middle, and attempt to categorize any taste you possibly can style. Is it one thing that reminds you of chocolate? Or perhaps extra of some type of fruit? 

Then, after you’ve discovered a macro class, attempt to get extra particular. Perhaps the fruity taste you found actually tastes like tropical fruit. Might it’s mango? Or perhaps coconut? 

And so forth. 

That is only a fundamental cupping process—excellent for spending a few hours with family and friends having enjoyable and studying about espresso—however there are numerous alternative ways to “improve” the cupping expertise.  

Some Variations 

Strive two cups of every espresso, to match them, and see in the event that they differ ultimately. Or strive a blind cupping (the place you don’t know which espresso you’re tasting since you’ve combined the cups on the desk). This generally is a enjoyable method to dig deeper into tastes as you attempt to guess which espresso is which. 

Another choice: Strive the skilled methodology, tasting the coffees whereas filling out a tasting kind. Use a taste profile kind or the official SCAA kind; there are numerous totally different variations that may aid you put your ideas so as, supplying you with a clearer concept of what you’re cupping. 

The extra you cup, the extra you’ll be taught. However don’t overlook that what you’re doing will not be a contest, only a good method to be taught extra about espresso, and naturally, have enjoyable with associates! 


Tanya Nanetti (she/her) is a specialty-coffee barista, a traveler, and a dreamer. When she’s not behind the espresso machine (or visiting some hidden nook of the world), she’s busy writing for Espresso Rebellion, a web site about specialty espresso that she’s creating alongside along with her boyfriend.


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