What is Cupping?

Posted by admin in Coffee School

Before the invention of supermarkets, Americans actually drank pretty good coffee. And one of the largest purveyors of quality fresh roasted coffee, mostly sourced from Guatemala’s Antigua region, was Hills Brothers. (Read any of Raymond Chandler’s classic detective novels from the 1940’s — he always devotes a few pages to the ritual of brewing his Hills Brothers coffee. That’s right! Hipsters didn’t invent fresh grinding and siphon brewing!)

The Hills needed a quick, no nonsense method of evaluating the lots of green coffee they were buying, so they developed a process called cupping.  Coffee roasted right at the docks was ground, mixed with hot water and slurped from a spoon. Without the brew method or roast degree to colour the experience, the Hills could tell exactly what they were getting.

This is the same method we use at Toby’s Estate in both our daily production cuppings and our public cuppings.  We line up coffees from different regions, side by side, grind them fresh, pour on hot water, and give you a chance to experience the naked bean — the aromas and flavours and body and aftertaste.  And a chance to compare notes with other coffee lovers. Cupping is a pure coffee experience, and one of our favourite parts of any day.