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What Is Coffee Cupping?

Why Every Coffee-Lover Should Participate in a "Cupping"

What Is Coffee Cupping?
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Tara Block

If you were to ask me what's the one beverage I couldn't live without, it would be coffee, no question about it. A steaming cup of strong, black coffee is what gets me out of bed (literally; I'm the opposite of a morning person), and then keeps me happy and caffeinated throughout the day. I know how I like my coffee and the difference between a good cup and one that tastes like burnt garbage, but until I took a recent media trip with Nescafé to Colombia, I was woefully ignorant about the complexities of coffee variations and why I like what I like.

As part of the trip, I participated in my first-ever "cupping" — and not the Michael Phelps kind — at the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (known as the FNC) in Bogotá, where I got a firsthand look into how the pros make sure every bean that is exported from the country not only meets the high quality standards Colombian coffee is known for, but that it fits the specific flavor profile preferences that vary from customer to customer, country to country. The experience felt like a cross between wine tasting and taking a pop quiz. Different from school, however, they said there are no wrong answers. That said, I have a newfound appreciation for all the experts and their next-level refined palates.

Here's how it went down!

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