5 Tips for Hosting a Holiday Coffee “Cupping” Party

December, 2012 · By Coryanne Ettiene

The holidays are synonymous with cocktail parties, and for the great majority of us, what we really need in December is bold dark coffee to get us through the frenzied days of this winter month. Hosting a coffee party allows both the guests, and the host to relax over a steamy hot cup, enjoying gregarious banter around a kitchen table….cocktail dresses are replaced with every day attire, and elbows rest on kitchen tables while crumbs bounce around littering the tabletop like holiday confetti. Hosting a Coffee Cupping Party allows everyone to learn the art of coffee tasting and is the perfect setting for blending familiar faces and new acquaintances. “Cupping” is the art of tasting coffee, and while the process is just as technical as wine tasting, it is in many ways more complicated, as coffee beans have up to 800 flavor characteristics that our senses can detect. Red wine, by comparison, only has 400.

5 Tips for hosting a Holiday Coffee Cupping Party

1. Learn the language of coffee:

  • Aroma: The smell of the coffee.
  • Fragrance: The smell of the coffee grinds (and the more oil the bean has, the more fragrance the grinds will have).
  • Body: How the coffee feels in your mouth. This is the feeling of weight and texture.
  • Rich: Is when the coffee is buttery and satisfying.
  • Mellow: For when the coffee has a fully-developed body; not harsh.
  • Acidity: Arabica beans are famous for having this character trait.

2. Shop Smart: Buy your fresh coffee no more than 2 weeks before you serve it, and reserve grinding until the moment you plan to brew it.

  • The Arabian: A medium to full body, rich flavor and dry aftertaste—some say a hint of chocolate.
  • The Brazilian: A medium to moderately dark roast with a hint of sweetness.
  • The Colombian: Generally full-bodied, fruity and acidic with a dark roast.
  • The Costa Rican: Dry and medium-bodied, with a dark roast.
  • The Ethiopian: Sweet, medium-bodied and fruity, with a dark roast.
  • The Hawaiian: Delicate, dry, slightly sweet, with a medium to moderately dark roast.
  • The Kenyan: Dry and acidic, with dark roast.
  • The Sumatran: Full-bodied and slightly fermented, with a dark roast.

3. Avoid the freezer: Forget what you have learned about freezing coffee…and never, ever freeze roasted coffee beans. Coffee beans are porous and will absorb odors present in your freezer, additionally the moister from the freezer will break down the bean leaving you with a dull bean with little resemblance to what it was before it arrived in your freezer.

4. Serve small cups: Offer single serving cups, or espresso cups for your guests to sip the coffee from. This allows for the full aroma and taste of the coffee to engulf your senses and get the full experience of cupping.

5. Serve chocolate: Once the cupping is complete, serve chocolate. It is a fabulous compliment to coffee drinking, especially if you are serving Arabian coffee.

Coryanne’s 30 second Coffee Sticks

There really should be a crime against recipes that take no time and taste so good. Simply take thin Italian bread sticks (Or make your own), dip them in a fresh jar of Chocolate Hazelnut spread (or make your own), then sprinkle fresh roasted coffee beans over the top. Yes, a food stylist could make these look amazing, and if you make everything from scratch no doubt they would taste even better….but I had 30 seconds and as good as they are, I see no reason to verge from my path.

Love the idea of a cupping party but panicking about your coffee maker? Breville has released new, time saving products such as the YouBrew, just in time for the holidays! Create your perfect cup or pot of coffee instantly and easily with the Breville YouBrew. Check out their website for more information on this product and other great gift ideas. And don’t forget to reply below for two chances to win your choice of amazing Breville products either for yourself or as a gift to a loved one: YouBrew, Tea Maker and Smart Oven products ($250 ARV).   This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Breville. The opinions and text are all mine. Official Sweepstakes Rules






Sign Up for Updates


Send this to friend