When coffee professionals mention they are professional cuppers, context is everything. Although coffee cupping can be considered therapeutic for some, the practice usually involves a professional coffee quality specialist tasked with ensuring the coffee being purchased and sold meets the flavor profiles and quality expectations for their coffee program. The process, known as coffee cupping, was developed in the mid-20th century, typically using a rotating circular table, a chair for sitting, and a spittoon for the taster to avoid the need to drink every sip.
Coffee cupping has become widespread throughout the coffee industry and is now being used for several purposes, which include showcasing new coffee arrivals to their customers, an educational process for those wanting to learn more about coffee flavors, and for better evaluating roasted coffee products.
The cupping process continues to be a great way to taste coffee without too many distractions or financial investment. All you need are some glass or ceramic glasses that hold roughly 7-8ounces, two spoons, hot water, scale, and a timer. For a more advanced approach, the Specialty Coffee Association has an entire cupping protocol developed for the industry to follow. The short video demonstrates a version of coffee tasting, which is simply based on (yet not entirely following) the professional cupping protocol.
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