"Evaluating" vs. Standard Cupping

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I have long maintained (with little chorus support) that when making decisions about purchasing greens for sale/distribution, brewing and sitting with a coffee is superior to cupping.

Cupping is great when you have a ton of samples to bang through. Cupping though, has limitations, most noticeably not fully presenting what a coffee has to offer. I cup when at the broker’s or when a situation requires it, but when evaluating greens for purchase for the shop, I always brew the coffee to assess much more fully what a coffee has to offer. I like to sit with a coffee and drink it top to bottom, hot to cool, to determine the coffee’s attributes.

I rarely hear support for this approach but it is a tried and true method for me. At the shop, I use a Technivorm. At home, I use a KONE/Chemex pourover.

On occasion, I have heard an air of disdain, as in, “You don’t cup??!!” This morning’s CoffeeShrub brought this comment from Chris Schooley:

“All Brewed Up:

I brewed a pot of the FC roast in our mini Trifecta too, and the cup has juicy body and texture, with even more balance than found in the cupping spoon. We see this a lot, coffees showing one way on our cupping table can be surprisingly different when brewed. Cupping is an efficient way of evaluating several coffees at one time, but not always the best representation of the brewed experience customers have!…” Some thoughts from Schooley.

Thank you Chris.

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