Steve Kraus of Press Coffee Roastery Takes Us Through a Coffee "Cupping"
This is part two of our interview with Press Coffee owner Steve Kraus. Today, he's taking us through our first coffee "cupping," a process similar to a wine tasting -- except with a lot more slurping. On Monday, we chatted about coffee as an agricultural product and found out why cuppings are so important for roasters when selecting coffee beans. If you missed that part of the interview, you can read it here.
Evie Carpenter Steve Kraus of Press Coffee Lauren Saria Ready for a dry smell
Cupping starts with a dry smell of the ground beans. Usually, you're tasting several beans at a time, so everyone participating in the cupping will take a turn smelling the grounds, making sure to give the cup a shake to release the aromas (the same way you'd do with a glass of wine). Next, they'll brew the coffee, using the immersion method -- which basically just means pour hot water over the grounds and letting them sit for about four minutes.
Once the coffee is brewed, you "break the crust," or the layer of grounds that will have risen to the top of the cup. Breaking the crust involves getting your face up close to the cup and taking in the "bloom" of aromas that get released when the layer is punctured. After all the crusts have been broken and the ground is skimmed off the top of each cup, it's time to actually begin tasting. Except that tasting acutally means "slurping," a special way of sipping a spoonful of coffee while trying to inhale air and take in the coffee's aroma and taste. It's pretty similar to how you'd taste wine, except more difficult to do without coughing and (at least for us) a lot more awkward.
Lauren Saria Kraus breaks the crust on a cup of coffee.
"Coffee is very similar to wine," Kraus says. "So I never say this coffee is better than that coffee. It has to do with your taste."
Press offers public cuppings, which you can get information about on their website. You can also arrange for a private cupping if you call the roastery.
Lauren Saria Press General Manager Alex Mason slurps coffee.