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Coffee cupping, or coffee tasting, is the practice of observing the tastes and aromas of brewed coffee.[1] It is a professional practice but can be done informally by anyone or by professionals known as "Q Graders". A standard coffee cupping procedure involves deeply sniffing the coffee, then slurping the coffee from a spoon so it is aerated and spread across the tongue. The coffee taster attempts to measure aspects of the coffee's taste, specifically the body (the texture or mouthfeel, such as oiliness), sweetness, acidity (a sharp and tangy feeling, like when biting into an orange), flavour (the characters in the cup), and aftertaste. Since coffee beans embody telltale flavours from the region where they were grown, cuppers may attempt to identify the coffee's origin.


Coffee cuppers reviewing aromas

Various descriptions are used to note coffee aroma.[2]




Cupping is a traditional practice; in the United States, cupping became a standard industry practice in the late 19th century (in what is retrospectively called the First Wave of American coffee), due to its use by Hills Brothers Coffee of San Francisco.[3]

Traditional equipment

Comparing a few small-batch roastings in Eugene, Oregon

See also


  1. ^ "Coffee Cupping". Coffee Research. Retrieved 2009-07-28.
  2. ^ "Coffee Fragrance". Coffee Research. Retrieved 2009-07-28.
  3. ^ Behind the Curtain Archived 2010-03-29 at the Wayback Machine, Charlie Habegger, October 9, 2009, Intelligentsia Coffee