Cupping and Roasting




• 1 standard coffee measure (2 Tbsp.) of coffee--medium grind—per cup.

• 5 oz. glass or ceramic cups—usually 3 per type of coffee

• Large, round spoon such as a soup spoon

• Water just off the boil

• Large glass of cold water



Put the ground coffee in the bottom of the cups and pour water all the way to the top.  Let the coffee steep for a few minutes and then “break” the crust --which should by now have formed on the top-- by pushing down quickly with the bowl of your spoon.  Get your nose down close to the coffee while you do this and inhale deeply. You should then stir the coffee briskly for a second or two and then let it sit again.  This will let the grounds settle and also let the brew cool enough to taste it.  If there is a brownish scum or foam on the surface of the cup, use your spoon to skim it off.  Don’t go dredging for the grounds; they are safely out of harm’s way at the bottom. When the coffee has cooled enough not to burn your mouth, take a small amount of coffee on your spoon and slurp it trying to spray as many parts of your mouth simultaneously as possible.  Repeat this several times with all of the coffees, take notes, and then come back and do it again.  Flavors change dramatically as the coffee cools, so you may want to leave it and keep coming back to it until it reaches room temperature.


* Important Note: Always dip your spoon into the glass of cold water after contact with any of the cups.  This quick rinse will prevent carrying flavors over from one cup to another.


For more information download SCAA Protocols | Cupping Specialty Coffee



Coffee Roasting


Coffee roasting is a chemical process by which aromatics, acids, and other flavor components are either created, balanced, or altered in a way that should augment the flavor, acidity, aftertaste and body of the coffee as desired by the roaster.


The first stage is endothermic.  The green beans are slowly dried to become a yellow color and the beans begin to smell like toast or popcorn.


The second step, often called the first crack, occurs at approximately 400 °F in which the bean doubles in size, becomes a light brown color, and experiences a weight loss of approximately 5%.


In the next step the temperature rises from 401 °F to approximately 428 °F, the color changes from light brown to medium brown, and a weight loss of approximately 13% occurs.   The resulting chemical process is called pyrolysis and is characterized by a change in the chemical composition of the bean as well as a release of CO2.


The second step is followed by a short endothermic period that is followed by another exothermic step called the second crack.   This second pyrolysis occurs between 437-446°F, and the roast color is defined as medium-dark brown.   The second pop is much quicker sounding and the beans take on an oily sheen.


Espresso potential is maximized in roasting when you maximize the sweetness and aroma of the coffee while minimizing the bitterness and acidity.  Most people focus on the latter and therefore roast extremely dark, yet without sweetness and aroma the espresso will never be palatable.  This explains the unpopularity of straight espresso and the popularity of espresso based drinks where either milk or other flavors are used to replace the sweetness that was lost by roasting darkly.


From 338-392°F the sugars in coffee begin to caramelize.   From tasting pure sugar versus its caramelized component it is evident that uncaramelized sugar is much sweeter.   The dark color of the coffee is directly related to the caramelization of the sucrose in the coffee.  Therefore, to maximize sweetness you want to minimize the carmelization of sucrose, yet you do not want to roast too lightly or bitter tasting compounds will not thermally degrade.  Stop the roast somewhere between the end of the first crack and less than half way through the second crack. Do not roast well into or past the second crack.  We recommend a roasting chamber temperature somewhere between 401-410°F.


(coffee roasting article by


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