The elaborate art of coffee cupping: Step by step
How do you tell the difference between good coffee and truly exquisite coffee? It's a seven step process.
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Cupping Step 1: Measure the beans( Deborah Netburn )
In mid-May, seven of the top coffee tasters in Northern Califonia met in San Francisco to decide whether or not to go in together on a very expensive (and very coveted) lot of beans. The beans are from Esmeralda, frequently the top-rated coffee farm in Panama. When Esmeralda's beans went up for auction two years ago, a bidding war ensued and one lot went for $130 a pound, breaking all previous coffee price records.
So how do these tasters decide that a coffee is worth several times as much as a regular good coffee? A very elaborate process called cupping. Here's how it's done.
Step 1: Measure the beans.
Everything in a cupping is very precise. Each cup gets 12.5 ounces of beans exactly. Here, Ryan Brown, buyer at Ritual Coffee Roasters in San Francisco, uses a digital scale for accuracy.