Cupping is a tasting exercise. It is a way to evaluate and compare the characteristics of different coffees, and assess their potential.
Throughout the entire coffee process, cupping plays an important role in maintaining the product’s quality. Farmers, suppliers, importers, buyers, and roasters cup at several stages – but not always with the exact same mindset.
At Nordic Approach, cupping is our primary tool. We cup in origin to start to identify new projects, microregions, and producers with quality potential. We cup in our labs in Ethiopia, Colombia, and Oslo to make buying decisions. We cup in Oslo to monitor quality from offer sample to pre-shipment sample to arrival sample, to make sure the quality of what we buy and offer to you matches what we receive. And we cup with roasters to adjust how coffees are performing in their natural habitat :).
Cupping is just a tool. It gives a picture of a coffee, and its greatest strength is that it is a relatively consistent picture no matter where you are. Cupping is repeatable and consistent and allows you to taste the coffee and not the brewing method. But water, roast, grind, etc. all have an impact.
“In our opinion, cupping is not a perfect picture, but a consistently imperfect picture, of the potential of a coffee.” Alec
But of course, we don’t generally serve cupping bowls to customers, so we have to translate this picture into something relevant. That’s part of your job as a roaster!
Why come to Oslo to cup?
Translating potential to an actual purchasing decision is really tricky, as any roaster with a table full of samples can tell you. We think that getting out of your own day-to-day, engaging in presentations about origin, and cupping with a room full of other roasters is an invaluable way to really get your head around new origins and make informed buying decisions.
Plus, it’s super fun and social, and there’s always a party at the end 🙂
What to expect from the next Nordic Approach cupping?
We organize two cupping events a year (one in spring and one in autumn), so you can cup the widest range of coffees from the upcoming harvest season.
- In autumn, we focus on Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Rwanda, Uganda, and Indonesia.
- In spring, we focus on Ethiopia, Kenya, Honduras, and El Salvador.
In fact, we will meet again on September 29 and 30 for a new cupping session. Attendance is free, so we encourage roasters to book their seats if you would like to join us and get to know your future coffees!