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Coffee Cupping with Cast Iron Roasters

Jun 9, 2017

To mark Urban Industry’s 15th Anniversary we thought long and hard about how to celebrate. Like a lot of our customers I love a good cup of coffee. After 15 years of travelling to London on buying appointments my love for the dark stuff has become, shall we say, more tuned. When you have all of the capitals coffee shops to choose from you get a bit spoilt. Gone were the days of a large latte on the train and another at Victoria Station from a generic Starbucks or Nero’s. In place of these tasteless offerings came the chance to try so many different cups from so many different Barista’s using the best beans and coffee making technique from around the world. Ever since i’ve developed a mental map of my favourite cafes and depending on which brand I’m going to see i know I’m always going to get a great coffee. 


Cut to today and what better collaboration than with the coffee experts at Cast Iron Coffee Roasters. Small, local, artisan in every way, truly passionate about the product they create.  After an introduction to Guy at Cast Iron from a local cafe barista (who now works as their wholesale manager) we got talking and he agreed to roast an exclusive run of beans just for Urban Industry’s 15th Anniversary and even better I could help pick the bean to be used. 

Cast Iron are based in a lovely part of the world just along the coast from us. From their premises they create some amazing coffee alchemy with some of the finest beans in the world which Guy himself selects. The beans are delivered ‘green’ in those familiar hessian sacks with exotic names printed on the outside denoting the farm, country, exporter etc. After arrival Guy and the team carefully test roast a small batch of each of the beans and start the ‘cupping’ progress to select how each bean should be treated. 


I’ll pass over to Charlie the wholesale manager to describe the  details of cupping.

“Cupping is a quick and consistent way of tasting coffee. Its also when you can taste coffee for what it really is (instead of adding pressure to it-like an espresso machine).

Its also a universal way of tasting coffee, which means that everyones tastings notes (wherever they come from) should be similar (if roasted the same way and the coffee is the same-which is whats used for green importers-this is how Guy would first try the coffee).

Unlike wine tasting you actually swallow coffee when trying it, this is because when you swallow you actually heat the coffee back up in your throat which then creates other flavour notes. 

Cupping is simply done, by using 8g-10g of coffee to every 150ml of (off the boil) water. We start a timer and then pour the water in a circular motion, making sure all the coffee grounds have been saturated, after a set amount of time we “break the crust” which means pushing a spoon to the back of the coffee which then releases vapours that we then smell and assess. We then stir 3 times and let it sit until it is an appropriate temperature to taste. Before we can taste the coffee we need to scoop off the grounds that float on the top, and throw them away. It is then after this (about 13minutes in) that we can start to “Cup” the coffee.  “


After much deliberation, tasting, smelling, and tasting again we narrowed down to our favourite cup and in turn bean. With expert guidance from Guy and the team Im really pleased with the single origin coffee bean we’ve chosen.  Gachatha AA is the single origin bean we’ve chosen, coming from Nyeri, Kenya. Grown at an attitude of 1600m and above the bean is a SL28 Varietal and has detectable notes of Pink Grapefruit, Lychee and Black tea, all in all for me, it makes for a really well rounded cup of coffee.  We’ll have the beans available to buy from Urban Industry very soon…


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