My employers and I are kicking around the idea of doing a weekly cupping Thursday nights at our coffee shop. We might even rotate through a broader range of activities all offered in that same time slot (french press tasting, pairing coffee and tea with various foods, training in espresso extraction and milk texturizing, etc).

What we want to accomplish is three fold:

1. Build community and add value to our customer experience

2. Educate our customers about our products (retail beans, teas, etc)

3. Bring in more business in the evenings

Obviously, this requires an investment of time and money on our part. Any advice to help make sure these weekly events are profitable? Is a weekly event of this nature too frequent? Would you offer these experience gratis (kind of a loss leader model) or have a small up front charge to cover the price of products? 

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Hey guys

I just sign up for Barista Exchange. Had a bit of time this morning and here I am.
We do cupping on request here at our shops.
Typically, three coffee every time. Each customers had their own three sets, their own spoon, water, and spit cup. We layout coffee sample before and after grinding. We created our own score sheet that help them understand cupping at a simpler terms (body, acidity, dry aroma and wet aroma, and a little bit of chemistry changes when water is added).

It's a bit of work and expenses.
Our shops are pretty busy most of time, so we do our cupping after hours or at a different location.
We don't charge for this, so it was done strickly for marketting purposes.

We did a few cupping on location as well. Recently we did one for a party of investment bankers - great fun.
These people have money and well travel, they all understand the different geometry contribution of each country. Once they have explaination on how African coffees are different than South American coffees, they understood completely.

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