I only know of two dedicated cupping rooms in Australia, one in Sydney and another in Brisbane. And both are in Campos cafes. The one in Brisbane has been open for a few months now, and at least from what I’ve heard, has been popular. There isn’t much about it on their website, and I only found out because I saw the cupping room at the cafe, and some discussion on Twitter.
I had never been to a cupping session, and I had no idea of what ‘cupping’ even was. Dandelion and Driftwood sell cupping journals. When I first saw them, I had absolutely no idea what they were for. However, as this session was being held at one of my favourite cafes, which is also a local roaster, a group of friends and myself booked a Saturday session.
The Cupping Room
On the day, the five of us were shown to the meeting room out the back, where we were given aprons (apparently spills are not uncommon) before heading into Campos’ dedicated cupping room. It was very cool. The light fittings were made from coffee cups. The lights were low and the room seemed full of coffee paraphernalia, though no more so than the rest of the cafe.
What is Cupping?
Cupping is a very specific coffee tasting technique, removing as many variables as possible to make it easier to compare different beans.
I learned that it makes it possible to compare coffee beans on their own merits. The tightly controlled preparation method means the tasters know they are experiencing exactly the same thing as the next taster, be they in the same room or in another country. It makes it a lot easier to talk about the coffee if you can remove all other variables.
The Coffee We Tried
Campos had six different coffees for us to try: five single origin varieties from Kenya, India, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Ethiopia, and a commodity coffee for comparison. Each bean was served in a small bowl, with water heated to a specific temperature, left to brew, and then stirred, and then brewed some more, before the grounds were scraped off the top. It seemed to be a fairly involved process.
The whole time the coffee was being prepared, and during the tasting itself, everything about the beans was explained. They covered how each of the beans were processed, where they came from, who grew them, and a lot more.
The highlight of the whole session was being able to compare so many different varieties of coffee. Each was distinctive and had its own qualities, with the Indian Malabar Monsooned beans being the most unique. The only comparison more striking than the Malabar and the rest was between the single origins and the commodity coffee.
Why it was Cool
At just $11 it is cheap, and if you pay $20, you walk away with 250 grams of the coffee you liked best. If you like coffee but did not even know what a cupping session was until you read this, then go and do one. It is a great experience, and Campos has taken a commercial activity and turned it into a great customer experience. If you already knew what cupping was, you are probably already interested in booking a session.
- Try many kinds of coffee
- Find out more about said coffee
- Take home the coffee you liked best
11 Wandoo St
Fortitude Valley QLD
Ph: 07 3252 3612