- Six-ounce cups, preferably porcelain or glass
(1 cup per coffee being tasted per taster)
- One soup spoon per taster
- One rinsing container (an auxiliary cup of water or a nearby sink)
- A convenient place to spit coffee (the sink or an extra cup, bowl, or container)
- One quart of cold, fresh water
- Coffee: one standard coffee measure (2 tablespoons) per type of coffee per taster
- Grind your beans to a consistency akin to the coarseness of cornmeal (and like that used for professional, or "flat-bottom filter," drip coffee). NOTE: As we emphasize elsewhere, the use of fresh coffee-and therefore the use of a grinder one of the most critical elements to creating a superlative coffee experience. If you do not want to invest in a small blade grinder, be aware that you are sacrificing a great deal of flavor.
- For each coffee being tasted, place 1 standard measure of ground coffee in the bottom of a cup for each taster. (In the tasting room, coffee is weighed because different coffees are of differing densities. If you use a scale, measure out 10 grams of whole-bean coffee for each cup, then grind it.)
- Boil your water. Your water should be clear of foreign tastes and contaminants, and fresh. When the water has reached a boil, take it off the burner and wait for a split second to achieve the optimal just-off-boil contact temperature.
- Fill each cup with hot water. Do this in the same order you plan to taste the coffees to ensure proper brewing time. Leave a little room at the top of each cup, perhaps 1/8 inch.
- Wait two minutes, then break the crust. The carbon dioxide released from your beautiful, freshly ground coffee will have caused the grounds to swell into a granular, dry-looking arch. Bring your nose down close to the cup, and use the gentle edge of your spoon to break into the swollen grounds. This provides a full first impression of the coffee's aroma and is of paramount importance to the cupping ritual. Enjoy it. Remember to rinse your spoon between cups.
- Allow the grounds to settle. When the coffees are cool enough to taste, and all the grounds have settled to the bottom (this normally takes about 3 to 5 minutes), take your spoon in hand again. Dip it into the coffee, and...
- Slurp. Remember that you want to coat your mouth evenly with the coffee. This may take some practice. With each slurp, you are aerating the coffee and therefore releasing more aroma to your olfactory bulbs (the sense organs for smell, located just above your nasal cavity). Pretend you're drinking through a straw-precisely what your mother always taught you not to do at the table.