Champion Cupping: Learning from Cory Andreen

Quills Barista Michael Butterworth has a way with coffee AND words. So we've asked him to tell us about the fun and informative visit Louisville received from Champion Cupper Cory Andreen last week. Michael spins coffee tales over at The Coffee Compass as well. Check it out (after you read this post). 

Cupping is an essential practice in the coffee industry. Simply put, cupping is a way of evaluating  the aromas, flavors, body, and finish of a coffee by repeatedly smelling and slurping coffee that's been brewed in cups of hot water over a prolonged period of time. At Quills we cup samples of coffee from our importer to decide which ones we want to buy and we cup a sample from each batch we roast for quality control. In a nutshell, cupping is how we guarantee that the coffee we serve will be delicious. 

 Considering the importance of cupping in the coffee industry, it's no surprise there's an international competition each year to see who is the best at it. Competitors are given eight groups of three cups of coffee. In each group two cups are of the same coffee, one is different. Competitors have to identify the matching coffees by flavor and aroma alone within a set amount of time.

 The current World Cup Tasting Champion is Cory Andreen, the owner of Cafe CK in Berlin, and we were lucky enough to host Cory at Quills New Albany last week. Cory gave a talk about his cupping philosophy at an event sponsored by Prima Coffee and later led some of our baristas through a cupping session. Some of Cory's tips include:  

-Taste everything blind without prejudice

- Especially taste coffee after it has cooled. Heat shocks our taste buds and interferes with the tasting process. 

- If coffee tastes good on the cupping table, it should taste good when you brew it. 

-Coffee is the most aromatically complex beverage known to man. It is far more complex than even wine.

-Baristas are not rockstars or artists. We are more like gallery owners displaying someone else's art. 

 Our friend Brian Moats artfully captured the event. Evidence below...



Quills Coffee periodically hosts public cuppings. If you are interested in participating in a cupping please email