The Coffee Journey from Crop to Cup – Cupping with Entreps

The name of this blog alone should already clue you in on one of my favorite things in life; coffee; I cannot live without it. Sometimes it takes a cup of joe or a lack of it to set the tone of my day. If I don’t get my dose of coffee, I usually get a headache.

But my love for coffee stayed in just the aspect of consumption. I don’t really possess an in-depth understanding of what it is about and the whole process of turning it into this brown liquid drink that I claim I cannot live without. Then I heard about an event called, Cupping with Entrep, a short session that involves talks about the process of making coffee and the actual cupping.

The first time I saw coffee cupping was in a Latin TV show. The characters went to a coffee plantation, sipped coffee, then spat out the liquid in another container. I was baffled but didn’t bother to find the reason behind the practice. The question was finally answered in this cupping event.

The event started with a little coffee 101, where we learned about producing coffee from crop to cup. It was not as simple as I thought and there are several conditions in the growing of coffee beans that affect the taste of the coffee.  

❓What is coffee cupping?

Coffee cupping is a coffee-tasting session that involves smelling the aroma of freshly roasted coffee beans and drinking or tasting the coffee. The people who do this are called Q Graders or “cuppers;” specially trained to assess the quality of the coffee.

What happens during the Cupping session?

Let me just share what happened with the one I attended. First, they laid out 20 coffee cups on the long table. All in all, we sampled 10 flavors of coffee beans. They gave us a checklist where we were supposed to write our evaluation of the coffee by describing its smell, feel, and taste.

We started by smelling the coffee ground; then water was poured onto it. The undissolved coffee ground formed a crust on the surface of the cup; again, we had to smell it and take note of what we picked up from the aroma.

Next is the tasting part. Because we were sampling several coffee flavors, we had a choice to spit out the coffee after tasting them. This was when I remembered that scene from the telenovela that I mentioned earlier. One cupper said that we are not required to drink coffee if we don’t want to. The point of the cupping is just to taste and evaluate the coffee.

I picked a spoon and started sipping the coffee when I heard some loud slurping sound. I turned to see the experienced cuppers slurping the coffee swiftly and noisily that I had to ask one of them why they were doing that. She said that you have to spread out the coffee over the palate to the back of your throat, to fully capture the taste of the coffee. Apparently, the most effective way of doing it is through slurping.

I went on to try it and ended up choking (lol). I guess this takes practice. I detected some fruity and nutty notes, but I won’t go into details because I simply can’t. It’s too early in the game for me to know exactly how to differentiate the smell and the taste of the coffee from one another, and even the cuppers said that it takes some practice and lots of exposure to coffee cupping to be good at this.

I stopped taking notes because only a few stood out for me; the others tasted or smelled pretty much the same. If I went on writing my assessment, then I would only be pretending.

It doesn’t mean that I don’t want to do this; in fact, it fueled my desire to really learn about this industry. I want to be an expert in cupping. 

During the event, I got inspired by one of the cuppers, Tere Domine, head roaster of Kalsada. Her knowledge about coffee is so extensive that I was in awe as I listened to her story.

Then I realized that I wanted to go venture on some sort of a coffee tour. I want to know about coffee, go to a coffee farm, experience coffee picking, talk with the farmers, and really understand what the coffee industry is all about. I want to smell the coffee ground and be able to tell if it’s Arabica or Robusta. I want to know by the taste if the coffee was grown at high or low altitudes. I want to tell by the feel of it if it was dried, washed, or honeyed.

I am happy that through Cupping with Entreps I have taken the first step to gain a much deeper appreciation of this aromatic brown liquid that completes my every morning. And I’m excited to continue the journey.

ℹ️ Infographic: 15 steps to coffee from bean to cup

The cupping event is part of a long and complicated bean-to-cup process. If we’re going to the nitty gritty of things, it involves 15 steps. Luckily, somebody reached out to me to share an infographic he created that shows these 15 steps.

Isn’t it amazing? Don’t tell me you’re not impressed.

Author’s note: Thomas designed this amazing infographic about How Coffee Is Made. When he’s not triggering the smoke alarm while roasting coffee at home he usually writes new coffee posts on his blog coffeeble.com.

Do you want me to review any coffee shops? Leave your suggestion in the comment box below, and I’ll make time to check it out. 💕

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23 Comments

  1. Really excited to read that I was wondering to get a portable k cup coffee maker for traveling but didn’t know much about the quality of coffee beans or how to make coffee perfectly, therefore, I had changed my mind but now I will go for it after reading this useful article.

  2. Excited for your coffee journey! I never thought coffee is a very complicated thing.. I really love to drink coffee.
    Blogger at coffeeinvestigator.com

  3. This is a very invigorating post full of the aroma of freshly roasted and ground coffee beans. I too was always fascinated by the scenes of people sipping coffee from a cup and spitting it into another. This post has demystified a lot of things.

  4. wow.. I never thought coffee is a very complicated thing.. I really love coffee, especially like those… But I do sip some 3-in-1’s but I love real coffee from beans especially brewed, the well known.. barako!

  5. Hi! Very interesting experience. It is always fun and exciting to learn something about the thing that we really like. And you are lucky that you experienced and learned new stuffs about the thing that love. I am not a regular coffee drinker but I am always curious on how they prepare it. When we were in Bali, we learned how they prepare the LUWAK coffee and why it costs way higher than the regular coffee beans.

  6. Excited for your coffee journey! Yes there are tons left to learn. As long as you have passion you can master it. Who knows you might be a Q grader next year already. This reminds me so much of my first job. Learning about farm to fork processes is really fascinating ?

  7. I know the guys who gave the seminar! 🙂 I love coffee and its definitely a cool experience being able to learn more about something which you consume on a daily basis. I do admit, even if my parents have a coffee farm, I am horrible at distinguishing the different kinds and flavors.

  8. Wow! What an experience. I love coffee and I love learning about the process of creating something. I would have fun doing this as well. Good luck on your coffee goals!

  9. This sounds like a great experience. Your description of coffee tasting sounds a lot like wine tasting. The noisier and the more swishing the better 🙂

  10. I enjoyed reading and learning a lot about your coffee cupping experience. I am a coffee addict and a workshop like this one will definitely give me a high. I am a barako fan as of late, or now I can say Liberica 🙂 Complete black no sugar, minimum 6 cups a day. 🙂

  11. I’m not a coffee drinker. One reason is because I breastfeed. But even before that, I’m more of a tea person than a coffee person. I remember one of our activities in college as a student of Hotel and Restaurant Administration. We would smell and taste different types of liquor and we need to guess them correctly. This was part of our beverage management class. It was fun!

  12. I love drinking coffee but didn’t know the anatomy or bits and pieces about it. All along I thought they are just the same. Coffee cupping I must say is a great experience. You will learn a lot from it, from distinguishing the coffee by smelling and knowing how it is being processed. Hope I can join one of this sessions as well.

  13. I really love coffee. Mostly drinking it :). I like special kinds of coffees (like lattes, caramel coffees etc). My favorite is banana mocha coffee. Coffee cupping sounds great. I had no knowledge at all on how the coffee beans are processed and how that affects the taste. Loved to read about it. I can imagine your enthusiasm!

  14. I never though it was that hard to evaluate coffee and there’s so much more to learn indeed, before I’m not really a fan of coffee but when my second child came, since then I turned out to be a coffee lover, hahaha, my breakfast is not complete without it. Painit in our language which is bisaya.

    http://cykaniki.blogspot.com

  15. I never knew there is a specific and tedious process of creating coffee. I’m not a coffee drinker due to health issues but I do love the aroma that coffee gives off. I learned a lot from your post and it made me interested to try out coffee cupping. 🙂 It’s refreshing to read your blog since you’ve got so much passion for coffee.

    http://www.jennifersmeraki.com

  16. I like coffee, I also need it from day to day to let my body and mind function well. I didn’t know however the process works but you enlightened me here! I actually dont know they had different tastes, the earthy or floral, lagi ata akong naka 3-in-1 haha. Anyway, go for want you want 🙂

  17. haha, it sounds so fun! i’ve attended a short cupping session before and i think i kind of frustrated the instructor out when every thing i smelled was just coffee…. eventually he gave up on asking me questions (like what did i smell etc). i would like to indulge in some self-denial that it’s because i’m too much of a coffee-addict so i can ONLY smell coffee and not everything else my peers were smelling from the same grounded beans.

  18. This sounds so fun and interesting! I actually watched something like this on a documentary once. Would love to try it one day too as I loveeee coffee! ☕??

  19. I had such experience as well but in my home country – Lithuania. I like coffee but can drink only 1 cup per day, otherwise my heart just go crazy 😀 I’m happy that during my session I needed to try just a small amount of each coffee otherwise would be bad for me 😉 By the way, from which countries you tried coffee during this event? Any from Indonesia? 🙂

  20. I’ve taken a barista class before and we just distinguished Arabica, Robusta and Liberica by smelling it. I don’t think I can handle more than that specifically this coffee cupping. I may be able to distinguish distinctive notes, but yes it really is difficult to assess the entire coffee altogether. Cheers to you for being able to experience this coffee cupping session 🙂

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