Steve Kraus of Press Coffee Roastery Takes Us Through a Coffee "Cupping"

Categories: Chef and Tell

Lauren Saria
Roasted beans still in the roaster.

You can also check out their whole roasting operation at the South Phoenix location, from raw bean to beautiful cup of latte art. Press' roaster Nanda Ibanez uses a huge roaster (its name is Brutus) to roast all of the company's beans. She tracks each roast -- and sometimes they do several dozen a day -- both by hand and by computer software.

Lauren Saria
Roasting beans at Press Coffee.
She roasts between 12 and 20 pounds of coffee at a time and each roast takes between nine and 15 minutes, depending of course on the bean and how dark a roast Ibanez is trying to achieve. A computer program hooked up to the machine tracks the bean's profile, or the changes in temperature and time. By five minutes into a roast the beans will already be turning from green to yellow and by the end of the roasting process you can actually hear the beans popping as they split open.

After being roasted the beans will sit for about two days before being taken to the wholesaler or Press' retail stores. The company trains all of its own baristas before letting them loose in store and also offers free training to all of its wholesalers. Doing so helps ensure that the quality of their coffee is accurately reflected in the way it's prepared, Kraus explains.

"At some point I will have a flagship store, which will encompass everything," Kraus says.

That encompasses everything from roasting to coffee eduction, a tasting bar and retail sales. Kraus says he's already got his eye on a location, though he's not ready to say where yet.

"We like to think that we're one of the leaders in specialty coffee out here," Kraus says.

Location Info


Press Coffee Roastery

4243 S. 36th Place, Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

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@swag unless of course the purpose of the cupping is to teach a roaster/consumer/customer the characteristics and general knowledge of coffee beans or beans from different countries. It's also used in pallet development, aroma, fragrance and sensory. Much like what a Sommelier does when getting he/she's certification or in this situation maybe a Q grader. 

Your right, cuppings were/are designed for finding defects and thats still common practice when sampling new crop, however if your cupping coffees that have already been stocked, then why wouldn't it an acceptable practice if your enjoying a product thats already been approved. Common practice and acceptable by SCAA standards.  So the question to you would be, how would one go about learning coffee aside from visiting a local coffee shop that doesn't practice coffee education? I for one learned wine from visiting wineries, meeting wine makers and sommeliers not by tasting it at from a vendor as I sought out the best way to be better educated on wine. 


Similar to wine tasting? Hardly. Unlike wine tasting, which is the best way to enjoy and experience the product, coffee cuppings are designed for anything but enjoyment. They were designed by industry workers to taste for defects and reject bad bags of beans before splashing out the cash on them.

If you've been to a wine barrel tasting, even that's more enjoyable - but clearly something that's not designed around enjoying the end product.

Public cuppings are a bit like trying to make a fun social game out of meat inspection. I wish people in the coffee industry would stop treating customers as if the only way to relate to them is to turn them into employees first.


@swag  Actually, for many of the same reasons that cupping is used all over the world for grading defects, a large percentage of the coffee industry argue that it is actually the most enjoyable way to experience a coffee. Its both a great brewing method, in that its difficult to mess up and consistently excellent, as well as inherently being a process that encourages you take some time to enjoy what a given coffee can offer.

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