How long should one wait to cup after roasting? Is there any school of thought about this? The beans are going to off-gas quite a bit and this will change the flavor through the following days/hours. Are there flavors that we should seek in a just roasted bean? From a serving side, most customers will not get the coffee the same day should we cup later to determine qualities of the coffee that the customer will taste? Or do most cup the same batch multiple times?

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I like to wait 24 to 48 hours.
I do an immediate quality check just 3 hours after roast termination for each batch (just three cups against itself, not in a lineup). This doesn't really say what it will be like, but will certainly let me evaluate consistency between batches or warn me if something is off.
For quality evaluation, I feel I go a little over the top and do 24 hour intervals for at least three roast degrees for fourteen days but that's only when it's a coffee I like at the 24 hour mark.
At least 12 hours but 24 to 48 is most effective in terms of earliest accuracy. Another thing to take into consideration is the purpose of the cupping. If you are evaluating new coffees for purchase, green bean taints will be evident on the earlier side. If you are cupping for consistency in roast, shoot for 24-48 hours. If you are cupping for flavors/profile, cup the coffee in the time range when your customers will be drinking it. If you are trying to optimize the day that you are using the coffee, cup it 2 days all the way through 2 weeks so you can chart decline and when the ideal time is to use it.
I really like what these guys are saying. Cupping is discovering. When cupping we are investigating, but we should not be looking for something specific. We should be just looking and allowing the coffee to tell us what it is. So, if you really want to be a good investigator, you will revisit the same coffee often. experiment with it. Taste it fresh, taste it stale, taste it everywhere in between. I would also add that cupping coffees is not enough if you are selling them to customers who are brewing them. You should also be tasting them through different brewing methods at different stages.

That being said, allowing the coffee to get rid of its carbon-dioxide will definitely open its flavors and aromas up to your palate. 48 hours is going to do a good job of this. For pressure brewing (espresso) it should be closer to 5-7 days, maybe even longer. Then again, a dark roast will off-gas more quickly than a light roast due to the structural damage that has transpired during carbonization (2nd crack). The cell walls are then very disrupted, allowing CO2 to pass through fairly easily. Conversely, a really light roast may need a little bit more time. What do the rest of you all think?
I agree totally.

Joe Marrocco said:
I really like what these guys are saying. Cupping is discovering. When cupping we are investigating, but we should not be looking for something specific. We should be just looking and allowing the coffee to tell us what it is. So, if you really want to be a good investigator, you will revisit the same coffee often. experiment with it. Taste it fresh, taste it stale, taste it everywhere in between. I would also add that cupping coffees is not enough if you are selling them to customers who are brewing them. You should also be tasting them through different brewing methods at different stages.

That being said, allowing the coffee to get rid of its carbon-dioxide will definitely open its flavors and aromas up to your palate. 48 hours is going to do a good job of this. For pressure brewing (espresso) it should be closer to 5-7 days, maybe even longer. Then again, a dark roast will off-gas more quickly than a light roast due to the structural damage that has transpired during carbonization (2nd crack). The cell walls are then very disrupted, allowing CO2 to pass through fairly easily. Conversely, a really light roast may need a little bit more time. What do the rest of you all think?
I agree.
Also, don't forget that chemical reactions causing prolonged degassing and others independent of it continue to create or change flavors and body post-roast. I have this full natural Guatemala I bought from Sweet Marias that more than doubles in body over the course of four days after my original 24 hour cupping and spice flavors give way to florals in that time. Dunno about you, but I'm used to florals starting early and dissipating rapidly after 48 hours.

Joe Marrocco said:
Then again, a dark roast will off-gas more quickly than a light roast due to the structural damage that has transpired during carbonization (2nd crack). The cell walls are then very disrupted, allowing CO2 to pass through fairly easily. Conversely, a really light roast may need a little bit more time. What do the rest of you all think?

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