Welcome Box: 01/00

By Evan Howe

We’re incredibly pleased that you will be joining us for a journey of comparative coffee tasting over the first six months of 2022. This welcome box includes some of the key items that you will need for Season 1, and we’ll also flag a few additional pieces of equipment that you will want to have in place by the time your first tasting box arrives in January.

You should find the following inside your welcome box:

  • Two Stoneware Cupping Bowls
  • One Engraved Cupping Spoon
  • One bag of freshly roasted Keystone Blend
  • One small packet of ground coffee (to use as a visual reference when dialing in your grinder)

To set up and enjoy a cup tasting, we also recommend having:

  • Digital scale
  • Coffee grinder
  • Clean filtered water
  • Electric or stovetop kettle
  • Timer
  • Rinse cup
  • Two spoons for skimming

Equipment Links and Recommendations for Cup Taster’s Members

It’s likely that many of you are already well equipped for coffee brewing at home, in which case, you probably have pretty much everything you need to enjoy a cup tasting!

For those of you who still need to invest in a few pieces of equipment, we’ve included resources and recommendations below to support you in getting set up, dialed in, and ready to enjoy your first tasting box.

Coffee Grinder

If you're new to the coffee grinder rabbit hole, you might find this beginner's introduction from James Hoffman to be very useful. And if you're new to James's YouTube channel, explore! His videos are highly informative, often quite entertaining, and explore a wide spectrum of coffee-related topics.

A few Grinders to consider:

Dialing in your Grinder for Cup Tasting

At Passenger, we grind our cupping samples at a medium-fine setting. We've included a small packet of coffee in your welcome box - ground for cup tasting - that you can use as a visual reference when dialing in your home grinder.

One of the easiest ways to visually compare the particle sizes of two ground coffee samples is to place a pinch of each sample side-by-side on a piece of white printer paper, enabling you to see more clearly whether the sample from your home grinder is finer or coarser than the reference we've sent you.

We want to emphasize that getting sufficiently "dialed in" for our cup tastings doesn't require that the sample from your grinder be a perfect match to the example sample. The key here is to progressively adjust your grinder a bit finer or a bit coarser, and visually compare to the reference each time you make an adjustment, so that your home grinder is ultimately replicating the particle size of the example fairly closely. If your home grinder has numerical settings, make a note of what number is best for cup tasting once you've found it! And as always, don't hesitate to get in contact if you have any questions with respect to dialing in your grinder.

Digital Scale

An inexpensive digital kitchen scale like this one is perfectly adequate for cup tasting. If you'd like something a little fancier, that would also be an enjoyable tool for manual brewing at home, here are two options that include a built in timer:

  1. Timemore Coffee Scale
  2. Acaia Pearl


A really simple kettle for heating and pouring water is all you need for cup tasting. A traditional stovetop kettle or simple electric kettlewould both serve your purposes here. If you choose to invest in a "gooseneck" kettle that would be additionally useful for manual brewing, we would recommend these options:

  1. Bonavita Variable Temperature Kettle
  2. Fellow Stagg EKG


Perhaps the most important variable impacting your cupping experience throughout the season will be the quality of the brewing water that you use for each tasting. If you are one of the fortunate folks with tap water that happens to be excellent for brewing coffee, you may be all set! But if you are not so lucky, you may find that your best option is to purchase bottled spring water at the grocery store to use for cup tastings. In the interest of using a widely accessible water as a shared reference point for monthly tasting videos, our team will use Deer Park Spring Water for cup tastings throughout season 1.