My First Coffee Cupping: Buzzworthy San Juan, Puerto Rico

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I like coffee.

I especially like how I am a tad less crabby in the mornings after I drink it–and of course, there’s the caffeine oomph.

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 My caffeinated doodles.


And I have to admit I feel pretty fancy whenever I get to sip on a five dollar soy latte (and practically spy-like when I get to do it incognito).

But I’d never heard of coffee cupping.

Turns out it’s a lot like wine tasting. Coffee cupping is a process used to evaluate and compare different coffees.

Coffee can taste briny, bready, or even oniony. Those are the not so good terms. Buttery, on the other hand, denotes full flavor and richness.

Who knew? Not me.

Until I traveled to San Juan, Puerto Rico.]

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 Cafe Cuatro Sombras, San Juan, Puerto Rico

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This is a BIG coffee grinder. Cafe Cuatro Sombras is serious about their coffee.

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Everything you need to start cupping.

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Break the crust, and then it’s time to slurp your coffee.

Coffee should spread to the back of the tongue, NOT cause you to cough wildly (whoops).


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The prize at the end of our coffee cupping adventure: The best soy latte I’ve ever had.

Dare I say, buttery?

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Bonus! Drinking coffee guarantees you see San Juan at night!


Tell me your thoughts on coffee! I’d love to hear them.

Happy Monday!



36 thoughts on “My First Coffee Cupping: Buzzworthy San Juan, Puerto Rico

  1. Oh man, what a cool thing to do. I love coffee, but coffee doesn’t love me. Still, if I could snuggle into that soy latte, I would. It looks divine! And I never knew that coffee should spread to the back of the tongue. I suppose, like all good things, coffee is meant to be savored, not seen as a means of caffeine transport to the veins. Makes me want to take a break each afternoon to enjoy a cup of tea (really I’d want to sip some coffee), and let the flavors slip over the back of my tongue. I bet it’s the same thing even though it’s not coffee. San Juan looks gorgeous! I love that night time photo.


  2. Love Love Love Coffee! Coffee! Coffee! Coffee! I can drink it all day and night long. Must start out the day with a cup. I have been to a few coffee festivals here in NYC and have sampled some great ones. This looked like a cool way to learn and the pictures are terric.

    Excude me, as I head out of the office to go get a cup o joe!


  3. Mmmm, coffee… I don’t drink it very often any more, because I just can’t get into it without loading it up with cream and sugar, and I needed to cut down on that stuff. But I do like it every now and then. Now if only I could quit drinking Mtn Dew…


  4. Well, as you already know from my blog, I detest coffee. I will only say that I did not know about the coffee cupping. Now I have officially learned something new today.

    And I can add that San Juan at night is absolutely gorgeous. I have witnessed that myself and would go again in a heartbeat.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt


    1. It’s funny I never drank coffee at all until some time in my thirties. I can’t remember how I started, but I did always like the smell. So I guess it was only a matter of time. 🙂


  5. LOVE, LOVE, LOOOVE Coffee and San Juan! Cupping is new to me, too. Interesting.

    Yum, that soy latte looks divine. I try to limit myself to 2 large cups per day, but I’m really tempted now . . . . I do have to avoid caffeine after a certain time at night else, I’m up to see the night lights the next day!!

    Great photos. (I’m expecting to see more in future posts!) By the way, why are you in San Juan in July? Hot! Hot! Hot!


    1. For the most part I can’t drink caffeine late either. Every now and then when I’m in a fatigue slump, the bonus is being able to drink coffee late in the day! 🙂
      Yes, the Caribbean in the summer is usually very HOT, but we lucked out. Almost every day we were there (late June, early July) we had breezy, amazing weather. 🙂


  6. Mmmm, I can smell it…And taste that gorgeous buttery soy latte. We’re pretty obsessive about our coffee here in Melbourne. And there’s nothing like that mood altering kick to the brain in the morning. Nothing! Not to mention, you can always tell when I’ve had extra coffee, because I’ll actually be ‘chirpy’ into the night (and chirpy is not a word you would use to describe me – ever!). Love your doodle, by the way 🙂


  7. If it were not for coffee, I would not have a husband, children or any friends. Can not seem to get a kind word out without my first sip. When getting hurricane ready here in Fl. the first thing we purchased was an outdoor grill so if electric went out, I could have my coffee. Our supplies consist of various soups, coffee, canned tuna, coffee, crackers, coffee, peanut butter, coffee, jelly, coffee. You get the picture. I look down at my black liquid every morning & say, “hello darkness, my old friend”


  8. I’ve never heard of coffee cupping either. Wow, just like wine tasting! Who woulda thunk? Your coffee doodle art is AWESOME! So are your photos. I think you can take any subject and write about it, take amazing photos of it, and do a blog post that’s sooooo cool! Thanks, Coleen!


  9. Now all those tempting visuals have me wanting to pop over to Peet’s Coffee despite it being 10:00 pm PST. Naw, if I do that, you will receive another comment at 5:00 am PST informing you of how deeply I regret my decision. If you like coffee connoisseurship, I had a great experience sampling coffee in Cairo — they take their coffee very seriously there and make it very strong, and you’ll find three separate coffee vendors right next to each other in the bazaar.


  10. I am sipping coffee right now – it is breakfast blend by Starbucks – I am hooked on their coffee, love the dark roast and the full flavor. I would love to visit a coffee roaster and taste different coffees – it sounds like an adventure. There is nothing like a cup of coffee done well.


  11. Ooh, I love coffee, and Cafe Cuarto Sombras looks wonderful. I bet is smells great, too. The scent of coffee is as much an eye-opener as the taste. Thanks for sharing this experience. Now I have to work “buttery” into a conversation about coffee. Oh, and I’m pretty sure I blamed my dishwasher for coffee that tasted briny or oniony. Now I owe it an apology.


  12. I love coffee. And I miss coffee. I had to stop drinking it this spring because it makes my stomach hurt, but golly I miss it. Drink one for me! 🙂 I’m stuck drinking tea just to have something hot to drink in the morning and it’s just not fun!


  13. We both love coffee, although I think both of us drink more at night than in the morning. Having said that, your picture of the soy latte was the prettiest cup of coffee I’ve ever seen and made me jealous. Our coffee is ugly!! lol. I want designs on ours. Great post Coleen, sharing now.


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