Cupping! New Coffee Term, I Learned at Joe

Posted on Mar 6, 2015 in Hiroko's Blog

Two days ago I had a great cofee education and experience at Joe, one of the top coffee shop operators in New York City. The owner, Jonathan Rubinstein, decided to roast their 100% beans at their own premises in Red Hook, NY. Joe offers one of the best cups of coffee in the City. I joined Nicole Kaufmann, Katie Duris and Amanda Byron to learn their regular “cupping”practice at their 21st Street store.

By the way a cup of espresso at Joe was extraordinary. I never tasted espresso which has such creaminess, roundness, richness and fruitiness as the one served at Joe. I am a tea drinker most of the time, but I appreciate and consume a good quality cup of coffee with great gust. Joe’s espresso fascinated me.

cupping 1Cupping is a process to check the quality of the beans delivered to the store. There were 14 glasses with varieties of ground coffee – beans from different region and beans roasted at different degrees – were placed next each other on the table. Cupping began with “sniffing” the dry ground coffee beans in each glass. When everyone completed the session, hot water (about 195 degree F) was added to each glass. After few minutes of waiting, next process – again, the “sniffing” – began. To do this I was told to push aside the built-up, fine foam on top of a glass with a spoon, in order to let aroma jump into my nose. During the process Nicole, Katie and Amanda kept what they found to themselves, in order not to influence each other with other’s opinion.cupping 2

cupping 3The final process was like wine or olive oil tasting. Each sipped proper amount of coffee through their teeth and made large slurping noise. I followed them and aerated coffee to do the proper tasting. During cupping the same two glasses always left me funky characteristics. I later learned that they are decaffeinated coffee. cupping 4

According to Nicole there are two main species of coffee. Coffee arabica and coffee canephora (also called robusta); under these two there are over 75 different varieties.At this time of the year Joe carries coffee from Ethiopia, Columbia and Papua New Guinea. Katie mentioned me that high altitude contributes to producing milder, less acid, good quality coffee. Among other things which I learned was that certain coffee beans, such as the ones which have high sugar content, can be aged. I will be going back to Joe many more times to see my coffee friends, have a cup of excellent espresso and learn more of it.

If you are a coffee lover, Joe is a destination. You will be hooked up with their quality.