Roasting 101: Cupping Production Roasts

Are you cupping your production roasts? Do you taste your coffees regularly?

The more coffee you taste, the more connected you will be to your coffee and your customer’s overall experience. Our in house roasting expert, Mike Romagnino, discusses the importance of cupping production roasts & how you should incorporate this in your roasting workflow.

The Importance of Cupping Production Roasts

Is tasting and cupping coffee incorporated in your production roast workflow? I have found that this is a crucial step to ensure you are executing successful roasts and delivering the best possible product to your customers.

Something that has always worked for me is cupping and tasting coffees while the roaster was heating to temperature. It would put me in a healthy mindset to taste coffees I had previously roasted, evaluate them and see how they were performing on the cupping table. Then I could decide if adjustments were necessary for the next roast. When incorporating cupping in your roasting workflow, you should structure it in a way that best supports the roasting operation and the development of your roasting team.

Cupping coffees as a team is crucial to ensure you and your team are calibrated with what you are tasting. Discussing how it tastes alongside the roasting approaches and techniques you used will help dial in and evolve roast profiles. This is especially helpful when you’re cupping a coffee that has been on the menu for a long time.

If you have a blend where you adjust green coffee components in the recipe, it is even more important to cup and taste. This will help you ensure the taste is always consistent, while meeting your company’s and customers’ expectations. It is good practice to do a tasting every time a change in the recipe is initiated. Based on what green coffees are being switched, you may also have to adjust the roast profile to keep consistency with your blend.

Alternatives to Cupping Production Roasts

Cupping is always a great way to evaluate coffees but there are other alternatives as well.

One alternative to cupping is tasting batch brews. Try brewing up an air pot for an evaluation. It’s a great way to see how the coffee performs other than on the cupping table. This is also likely the most common way that a majority of your customers are consuming your coffee.

Another alternative way to taste and evaluate your coffee is through espresso evaluations. By conducting espresso evaluations, you will gain significant insight into how your coffees are performing in cafes. Consider evaluating your coffee this way by having a lead barista pull shots for the roasting team. From there, everyone can taste and evaluate their work on the roaster. This is especially significant since espresso blends are typically the largest volume of coffee sold and roasted.

If you have a roasting company with multiple café locations, try evaluating coffees at each location to see how the coffee is performing. Are all of your café locations calibrated with one another? Are you having the same experience in each location? If after evaluating locations you answer yes to both of these questions, great job! Consider evaluating your café locations quarterly to ensure they remain calibrated. If you found opportunities at your café locations during your evaluation, consider doing a barista re-calibration training. This will ensure café staff members are preparing the coffee uniformly across espresso and other brewing methods. Even though your coffee may be roasted consistently from batch to batch, if it’s not prepared the same way, it can lead to inconsistency from cup to cup.

Your Coffee Cupping & Tasting Program

Implementing a cupping and tasting program will greatly benefit your coffees, while improving your staff’s roasting performance and palate development. It also will allow you to stay on top of all the coffees on your menu, monitor their progress and performance and hopefully help factor into future green coffee purchasing decisions.

Have any questions or looking for more information on cupping production roasts? Don’t hesitate to contact us, we’re here to help!