Who's behind this?
Scott Rao and Ryan Brown.
Scott Rao has been in the coffee business for over 25 years as a cafe owner, roaster, consultant, and book author. Scott’s books The Coffee Roaster’s Companion and Coffee Roasting: Best Practices, have influenced a generation of roasters and shaped the global roasting vocabulary and conversation. Scott’s popular Instagram account @whereisscottrao offers expert-level tips and discussion about coffee brewing and roasting.
Ryan Brown made his mark with the groundbreaking coffee buying program at Ritual Roasters. He also developed buying programs at Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Tonx, Caravela, and Blue Bottle before authoring the first book dedicated to the profession, Dear Coffee Buyer.
Who is this good for?
Facsimile is perfect for anyone who’s interested in learning more about sensory evaluation of green coffee, cupping, scoring, processing, and origins. Whether you're a professional aspiring to get closer to the buying function or an enthusiast who wants a flavorful tasting adventure, Facsimile is here to scratch your itch.
What if I don't like what you send me?
All of your Facsimile purchases are backed by a money-back guarantee. If you’re not happy with something, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll do everything we can to make it right, including a full refund of your purchase.
What if I LOVE what you send me?
So here’s some good news: occasionally, we’ll have a few extra bags available for purchase. This information will be shared with you during the cup-along video and/ or shortly after via email.
How does this all work?
- First, go subscribe.
- Then, we ship you several samples each month.
- Finally, shortly after you receive your samples, we’ll cup them together live on YouTube.
- Rinse, spit, and repeat.
So, I know what Scott and Ryan like. Does that mean no naturals?
There will be naturals. Imagine a naturally-processed coffee so good, even a couple of natural-haters love it. It would have to be a pretty special natural.
How do I cup?
While we’ll walk through the cupping process in each month’s video, here are the mechanics:
- Boil ample water.
- For every gram of coffee, use 17 grams of water. For example, if you use 10 grams of coffee, use 170 grams of water per bowl. The recipe Ryan will use is 11 grams of coffee and 187 grams of water.
- Grind your coffee on a medium-fine setting into each cupping bowl. The coffee should be slightly finer than kosher salt.
- Pour the water over the grounds when the water is a few degrees below boiling (207F/97C is good). Depending on your elevation, this may mean pouring immediately (at high elevation) or up to one minute (at sea level) after you remove your kettle from boiling.
- Set a timer (counting up from 0) as you begin pouring the first bowl. Pour the remaining bowls.
- Fill a couple of rinse cups with hot water to rinse spoons throughout the cupping.
- When your timer reaches 4 minutes, break the crust of the first bowl by skimming the surface of the bowl with the back of a spoon. Smell the aroma released and churn the crust to submerge it.
- Break the crusts, smell the aromas, and submerge the grounds of the remaining bowls, in the order they were poured.
- Remove the surface sludge from the bowls.
- When the coffee temperature is hot, but comfortable to taste (usually when your timer reaches between 10 and 15 minutes), begin tasting.
- Forcefully slurp spoonfuls, spraying the coffee throughout your mouth. Slurp samples from each bowl, taking note of the sweetness, acidity, body, and cleanliness of each sample. Identify and note dominant flavors and qualities you perceive.
- Return to the bowls two additional times over the following 15-30 minutes, as the cupping samples continue to cool to room temperature. Continue to take notes.
What kinda water should I use?
For the sake of simplicity and precision, we will be using Third Wave Water capsules and distilled water.
However, it may not be necessary for you to treat your water. We recommend that you get a better idea of what’s coming out of your tap by spending $10-15 on a TDS meter. Goldilocks water is about 120ppm--150ppm. You may be lucky enough to have this already spewing out of your faucets.
If you’re willing to go a little DIY, we’re fans of Barista Hustle’s recipe. It’s affordable and you can configure the recipe to your own preferences over time.
What kind of grinder should I use?
Cupping is intentionally forgiving of grind quality, so any burr grinder will suffice. While a blade grinder will work in a pinch, we recommend upgrading if it’s all you have.
What cupping equipment do I need?
Digital scale, preferably one with a resolution of 0.1g (you can find these online for $10-20)
4-5 cupping bowls; use professional cupping bowls if you have them; use glasses, ceramic cups, or mugs with a capacity of 5-8oz (150-225ml), if you don’t
2 cupping spoons or deep-bowled soup spoons
Kettle for boiling water
Stopwatch or timer; the one on your phone will work perfectly well
Spittoon cup that doesn’t resemble your cupping bowls
- A pencil and a blank sheet of paper for taking notes