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Cupping is the method by which coffees are chosen by roasters.

The cupping process involves roasting green beans to a calculated roast profile, largely based on experience of the beans from the origin being represented.

Once the beans have been roasted they are ground fairly coarsely (much like a french press grind), weighed out into doses, and placed in a cup or glass on the cupping table, usually in groups of 3 (to allow multiple people to cup at the same time, and for comparison of each coffee)

Cupping tables vary in size, but it always pays to have a number of coffees for comparison, from different origins or from different farms.

Once comparitive coffees have been laid out, water is boiled

Using an internationally recognised cupping sheet, the coffees are scored (refer to the Cupping Sheet Wiki article)

Once the dry ground have been assessed, hot water, just off the boil, is added to each cup

The cup is then steeped for 4 minutes, before the crust is broken, using a cupping spoon

This releases the aroma and the coffee is then evaluated

The next step is to remove the crust/bloom from the surface, before the coffee is tasted, by slurping small amounts and spitting out into a cup or spittoon.

A vital step is to drink water between each sample and also rinse the spoon to avoid taste contamination

The scoresheets are filled in for each coffee, and collated to identify which coffee is best from the coffee available for purchase

Roast profiles are also tweaked to bring out richer flavour or highlight an attribute
 
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