Quick note: The World’s Largest Cupping

If you’re a big fan of James Hoffmann (World Barista Champion 2007, the author of “The World Atlas of Coffee” and co-founder of Square Mile Coffee Roasters), this is a can’t-miss event.  For those who are curious about what’s going on, the idea behind is to let everyone from all over the world cup the same coffee at the same grind size and mixed with the same water. To make it happen, James offered a full set of:

  • 5 coffee samples (30g per each) marked as A,B,C,D,E (for blind cupping).
  • 1 sachet of Third Wave Water mineral supplements (for 3.8l of distilled water)
  • 1 sample of ground coffee (to better adjust grind size)
  • 1 mini instruction note (but you can find more information here)

…at a very affordable price, which is £6.00 GBP. NestinCity is in Vietnam, so the total amount is £9.37 GBP including shipping fee. Not expensive, right?

The event was announced a month before the cupping session happened. By this way, there would be enough time for the shipment to be delivered to your place before James streamed live his cupping session on Youtube. You can cup it before or on exact the same day as James’ (Sept 21st, 2019) because he will reveal the names of all coffee samples at the end of his livestream. Honestly, I think this event is very well-scheduled and a great chance for our local coffee community to gather and have a good time together.

Our cupping table with a sign of “hold your words while cupping” on the left 🙂
  • Good news: we received the package 3 days before Sept 21st.
  • Bad news: Our package missed sample E.

It was very kind of Square Mile team to offer a full refund with sample E to be sent to us asap. However, due to the long distance between the 2 countries, it will take at least 2 weeks for the shipment to arrive here. That’s why we decided to keep doing cupping without sample E and save it for a brewing meeting day in the near future. So, here we go:

  • Venue: Amazing Coffee (AMA Café), 29 Luu Van Lang St., Dist 1, Hochiminh City, Vietnam.
  • Attendance: 11 baristas and roasters (from NestinCity, Intenso Coffee Roasters, AMA Café, Rollin’ Bean Roasters, One Drop Coffee, etc).
  • Water (after mixing with supplements): TDS = 197, temperature is 94 degrees Celsius.
  • Ratio: as recommended, 12g of ground coffee with 200ml of optimum water.
Distilled water with TDS zero
After mixing with Third Wave Water mineral supplements, TDS is 197 ppm.

Sample A: Entre Rios – Nicaragua

We all agree with the clear smoky fragrance, spicy aroma with mild acidity, fruity flavors.

Other flavors found: flavor of genmaicha (a Japanese brown rice green tea), peach, lemon, fruity sweetness, buttery, dried lime zest, long nutty aftertaste, a bit like vegetables growing underground, sweetness is low when it’s hot but increasing when cooling down.

As James explained, this coffee was the lowest altitude among five samples. That’s why its density and acidity are not high.

Sample B: San Lorenzo – Guatemala

Most of us found it strong with medium body, long but a bit dry finish, flavors are quite cloudy, difficult to name.

Some found it harsh, taste like herbs, with low sweetness and lavender nuance.


Sample C: Nano Challa – Ethiopia

This is one of our 2 favorite samples.

We all found its acidity is clearly citrusy, high sweetness, light to medium body, the most balance and the sweetest coffee among 4 samples.

Some people found its sweetness like honey and a hint of thyme at finish. Bitterness is in acceptable range and more like orange peel.

Look how concentrating they are….

Sample D: Kiranga – Kenya

Bright acidity and distinct flavor of Kenyan coffee. So spot on!

What else: sweet like white grapes, pleasant finish, strong berry flavors/ tropical fruits, a bit like matcha/green tea, a bit powdery so not very clean.

Tasting, thinking, writing….

Let us know your cupping result if you joined this event, too!

One Reply to “Quick note: The World’s Largest Cupping”

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