Skip to main content
Coffee Cupping Table

Ever wondered how coffee aficionados distinguish between the subtle flavors in your morning cup of joe? I recently had the pleasure of attending a coffee cupping class at Ethos Roasters in Lakeland, and let me tell you, it was an eye-opener! From the moment I stepped into their quaint, welcoming space, I knew I was in for a treat.

Setting the Scene

Greeted by Lisbeth, one of the owners and our instructor for the evening, the atmosphere was nothing short of fun and educational. With only eight of us in the class, including a mother-daughter duo, a young couple, and an older couple on a “date night,” the setting was intimate, making it easy to interact and learn the art of coffee cupping.

Coffee Cupping Table

The Journey from Crop to Cup

Before diving into the cupping, we took a brief detour to understand the coffee bean journey, from “Crop to Cup.” It’s fascinating how small variations in the harvesting, washing, and drying processes can significantly impact the coffee’s taste. Knowing how the bean was processed is a crucial part of coffee cupping.

The Coffee Cupping Process

The cupping process itself was a sensory experience. Here’s how it went down:

  • Grind the Coffee: Freshly ground coffee to start.
  • First Sniff: What do you smell? Chocolate? Fruits?
  • Brew: Add water and let it sit for about 4 minutes.
  • Second Sniff: Remove the top layer of grounds and smell again. Notice any changes?
  • Taste: Take your first sip. Does it match the aroma?
  • Cool & Taste Again: As the coffee cools, the flavors evolve.
Coffee Cupping at its best

Tools of the Trade

The tools were simple yet effective: coffee cups and spoons. Sometimes, simplicity is key to a great experience.

A Flavor Revelation

My favorite coffee of the evening was Poaquil Natural from Guatemala. But what truly stood out was how Lisbeth taught us to “cheat” our palettes. A bite of 80% dark chocolate or a prune before sipping the coffee revealed hidden notes that were otherwise elusive.  This was an eye-opening experience on how to train your palette and learn how to identify coffee notes.  We also used the Coffee Tasters Flavor Wheel to learn the proper way in describing coffee flavors.

The Instructor

Lisbeth was more than just an instructor; she was a coffee evangelist. Her passion for coffee was infectious, and her storytelling skills were captivating. She shared her own coffee journey, filled with trials, triumphs, and a deep love for the bean. Her approach made us feel like seasoned cuppers, even though most of us were novices. Listening to her coffee story felt like a sneak peek into a whole new world, one that I’m eager to explore in future blog posts.

Coffee Cupping Instructor and owner of ETHOS


The biggest lesson I learned was that anyone can become a coffee connoisseur with the right guidance. Lisbeth’s unique palate-training techniques were a game-changer. It’s not just about sipping coffee; it’s about experiencing it. This class taught me that with the right tools and instruction, you can unlock a whole new layer of appreciation for something as simple as coffee.


So, would I recommend this class at Ethos Roasters? In a heartbeat! Whether you’re a coffee newbie or a seasoned aficionado, this class offers a perfect blend of fun and education. It’s not just a class; it’s an experience that will forever change the way you think about, and taste, coffee.

If you would like to know more about ETHOS Roasters, you can follow them on Instagram and Facebook.

Tim Justynski

From Mediterranean espresso revelations to Central Florida café crawls, I'm your go-to guide for the area's best brews and baristas. With a keen eye for customer service and presentation, plus a few coffee courses to boot, I'm here to help you discover your next favorite coffee spot and up your Java game.

One Comment

  • Lisbeth says:

    Tim – words simply can’t capture how grateful and joyful you’ve made us feel with this post. Thank you for taking the time to write it and share your pictures – we look forward to seeing you at a future event, online, or if you’re ever in Lakeland on a Saturday, we hope you’ll stop by our farmer’s market and say hi! 💛 Jolian & Lisbeth

Leave a Reply