“Cupping is just a fancy word for tasting.”

photo by Qole Pejorian

I love coffee. Without a cup of dark coffee in the morning life itself would be impossible. Or at the very least my day would get off to a rough start. And I am a fan of the full-bodied, straight up black cup unadulterated by milk, cream, foam, cinnamon, soy, or whatever else is on offer. And while I don’t look on the soy latte crowd with disdain, I think they are missing rich the flavor experience coffee provides. The practice of cupping, however, aims to change all of that.

According to Hannah Wallace’s article in the online version of today’s New York Times cupping is about to do to coffee consumption what wine tasting has done to wine appreciation. Her article introduces us to the idea of “third-wave coffee shops” which offer cuppings to increase patrons’ appreciation of coffee and help them identify the flavors they’re tasting when experiencing different blends.

Not every cupper understands all the fuss. At an Ethiopian-theme tasting by the New York Coffee Society, Michael Turkel, who keeps a restored Olympia Cremina espresso machine in his dorm, tasted a coffee and announced, “The beginning notes are sweet.”

Nearby, his friend, Lemor Sidis, rolled her eyes. “I don’t know what he’s talking about,” she said. “But don’t tell him that.”

How would you like to stand behind Michael at your local Starbucks? Prepare to have your morning drink choices become as difficult as picking out an appropriate wine with dinner.

Even if you don’t read the article, you’ve got to watch the accompanying video-it’s a gem.


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