The Cupping Room
What is coffee cupping and why do we do it?
The cupping room at the Orkney Roastery was designed around what was comfortable for Euan and Sara - it doesn't meet the technical specifications for professional cupping (exactly why have we got a bar billiards table as a cupping table?) but it's a comfortable, easy space to work in.
Cupping is the process used to evaluate and record the characteristics of a given roasted coffee bean. The ideal cupping room and equipment will be set up to remove as many variables as possible in the process and provide a clean, bright environment that allows tastes, smells and visual characteristics to be compared against each other. We then use the SCA (Speciality Coffee Association) Coffee Tasters Flavour Wheel poster to support the common language of description.
Put simply, samples of the green coffee, the roasted coffee beans and the ground coffee are laid out behind a standard cupping bowl. Specified quantities of ground coffee and water @ 94°C are added to the bowl and allowed to brew. This set up is used for all the coffees that are to be cupped. The brew is slurped off a spoon to maximise aeration and distribution across the palate. We use the process and score sheet to record our thoughts on each bean in a consistent way and it gives us a standard to test new coffees when they are received.
Tasting is a less formal process and is what we do with the coffee using various traditional brewing methods to translate the technical language of cupping into the experience of drinking it.