Cupping Protocols

Requirements

Roasting PreparationEnvironmentCupping Preparation
Sample roasterWell litBalance (scale)
Agtron or similar color reading deviceClean, no interfering aromasCupping glasses with lids
GrinderCupping tablesCupping spoons
QuietHot water equipment
Comfortable temperatureForms and other paperwork
Limited distractions (no phones, etc.)Pencils and clipboards

 

Sample Preparation

Roasting:

The sample should be roasted within 24 hours of cupping and allowed to rest for at least 8 hours.

Roast Profile:

  • Robusta beans are typically more dense than most Arabica beans and present greater resistance to heat. For this reason, the surface of Robusta whole beans must be roasted considerably darker than Arabica whole beans in order to achieve similar flavor development and internal roast color (after grinding).
  • Robusta whole bean roast color should be medium to medium-dark, not light to medium-light as is common for Arabica cupping roasts. On the M-Basic (Gourmet) Agtron scale, a Robusta whole bean reading of approximately 48 is needed to produce a ground M-Basic (Gourmet) Agtron reading of approximately 78, +/- 1 point (Agtron/SCAA tile #45 for whole bean and Agtron/SCAA tile #75 for ground). Cupping panel testing has suggested this lighter roast profile is the optimal ground roast color for Robusta cupping.
  • Comparable color readings for ground Robusta would be approximately 54 on the Agtron E10/E20 commercial scale or approximately 110 on the Probat colourette scale, and approximately 115 on the Neotec-Neuhaus scale.
  • Those accustomed to sample roasting Arabica should note that the first crack is not as pronounced or dramatic in Robusta as it is in Arabica. With Robusta, the first crack seldom reaches a crescendo and the second crack is also very subdued at its onset. Those who time their roast by the sound of the crack must wait until the first crack has completely concluded before considering terminating the roast. If the roast is terminated a few moments (10 seconds or so) before the second crack, the optimum roast development for Robusta as determined by panel cupping should be achieved.
  • The roast should be completed in no less than 9 minutes and no more than 14 minutes. Scorching or tipping should not be apparent.
  • Sample should be immediately air-cooled (no water quenching).
  • When the beans reach room temperature (approximately 75º F or 20º C), completed samples should then be stored in airtight containers or non-permeable bags until cupping to minimize exposure to air and prevent contamination.
  • Samples should be stored in a cool dry place, but not refrigerated or frozen.
  • The optimum ratio is 8.75 grams per 150 ml of water
  • Determine the volume of water in the selected cupping glass and adjust weight of coffee to this ratio within +/- .25 grams
  • Sample should be ground immediately prior to cupping, no more than 15 minutes before infusion with water. If this is not possible, samples should be covered and infused not more than 30 minutes after grinding.
  • Samples should be weighed out AS WHOLE BEANS to the predetermined ratio (see above for ratio) for the appropriate cup fluid volume.
  • Grind particle size should be slightly coarser than typically used for paper filter drip brewing, with 70% to 75% of the particles passing through a U.S. Standard size 20 mesh sieve.
  • At least 5 cups from each sample should be prepared to evaluate sample uniformity.
  • Each cup of sample should be ground by running a cleansing quantity of the sample through the grinder, and then grinding each cup’s batch individually into the cupping glasses, ensuring that the whole and consistent quantity of sample gets deposited into each cup. A lid should be placed on each cup immediately after grinding.
  • Water used for cupping should be clean and odor free, but not distilled or softened. Ideal Total Dissolve Solids are 125-175 ppm, but should not be less than 100 ppm or more than 250 ppm pursuant to SCAA water quality standards for cupping.
  • The water should be freshly drawn and brought to approximately 200º F (93ºC) at the time it is poured onto the ground coffee.
  • The hot water should be poured directly onto the measured grounds in the cup to the rim of the cup, making sure to wet all of the grounds.
  • As the coffee degasses, the cap may sink below the rim of the cup. When this occurs immediately pour additional water into the cup so that the cap again rises to the rim of the glass
  • Allow the grinds to steep undisturbed for 4 minutes before evaluation.

Measurement:

  • The optimum ratio is 8.75 grams per 150 ml of water
  • Determine the volume of water in the selected cupping glass and adjust weight of coffee to this ratio within +/- .25 grams

Cupping Preparation:

  • Sample should be ground immediately prior to cupping, no more than 15 minutes before infusion with water. If this is not possible, samples should be covered and infused not more than 30 minutes after grinding.
  • Samples should be weighed out AS WHOLE BEANS to the predetermined ratio (see above for ratio) for the appropriate cup fluid volume.
  • Grind particle size should be slightly coarser than typically used for paper filter drip brewing, with 70% to 75% of the particles passing through a U.S. Standard size 20 mesh sieve.
  • At least 5 cups from each sample should be prepared to evaluate sample uniformity.
  • Each cup of sample should be ground by running a cleansing quantity of the sample through the grinder, and then grinding each cup’s batch individually into the cupping glasses, ensuring that the whole and consistent quantity of sample gets deposited into each cup. A lid should be placed on each cup immediately after grinding.

Pouring:

  • Water used for cupping should be clean and odor free, but not distilled or softened. Ideal Total Dissolve Solids are 125-175 ppm, but should not be less than 100 ppm or more than 250 ppm pursuant to SCAA water quality standards for cupping.
  • The water should be freshly drawn and brought to approximately 200º F (93ºC) at the time it is poured onto the ground coffee.
  • The hot water should be poured directly onto the measured grounds in the cup to the rim of the cup, making sure to wet all of the grounds.
  • As the coffee degasses, the cap may sink below the rim of the cup. When this occurs immediately pour additional water into the cup so that the cap again rises to the rim of the glass
  • Allow the grinds to steep undisturbed for 4 minutes before evaluation.