What Is Coffee Cupping?

December 06, 2019

If you ever see Mark or Anthony with their head deep in a coffee cup, sipping, sniffing or slurping, don’t panic, they haven’t lost the plot (yet). What they are really doing is practising the quality control technique of ‘coffee cupping.’

The technique is not only used for quality control but also to increase one’s ability to identify different flavours in coffee. Flavours to look for include nuttiness, chocolate, fruitiness, citrus, earthy notes, sweetness and floral notes. Just like wine, there are endless flavour notes coffee can achieve. Coffee flavour is affected by weather, altitude, soil and the country of origin and once it is picked it is then affected by the processes after that. 

Coffee cupping is used around the world to quality check a batch of coffee. Coffee connoisseur’s look for aspects such as the coffee’s sweetness, cleanness, acidity, overall mouthfeel and aftertaste. The process involves weighing and grinding the coffee, next hot water is poured over the freshly roasted and ground coffee directly into the cup and left to steep for 3-5 minutes, then it is mixed, and the foamy head is removed. The coffee’s aroma is noted on when it is dry, when the water has been added and then once the foam is removed. Once roughly 10 minutes has passed, it is time to taste! 

Tasting involves a big ol’ slurp to introduce the air and coffee together from the spoon to your taste-buds. Take note on the initial taste and the after taste looking for the notes mentioned above. The second taste assesses the body, mouthfeel, balance and determines the overall experience and score. Then add a third taste to make sure nothing was missed.


Mark and Anthony are pretty much self-proclaimed ‘Master Tasters’, so you can rest assured only the best coffee is making its way into a Three Pence coffee cup and then into your hands.