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Cupping with Jake: Coffee Tasting with a Cup Tasters Champion

Posted by Lori Bailey on

What's it like to be the Cup Tasters Champion in the United States? For Jake Donaghy, it's back to work as usual... but with the fun memories of Portland to take with him, and even more excitement ahead to look forward to.

"I just wanted to go and have fun and see friends and meet people," he admitted of his reasons for entering the competition. "But I ended up winning."

As the reigning cup tasting champion in the U.S. division of SCA, Jake now advances to compete on the world stage, which will unfold in Greece in June of this year. How's he feeling about it? Seemingly as relaxed as ever about the competition, but enthusiastic about the connections. "I've never been to Greece before," he said. "I’m excited to meet other people in the industry and it’s kind of a unique experience that lends itself to making a lot of new friends, so that’s probably the part I’m looking forward to the most."

We caught up with Jake in our Cupping Lab after a fairly normal weekday's roast, and he shared more about the competition experience, plus some champ-approved tips on tasting coffee at home.

Tools to cup like a pro:

Jake recommends a great burr grinder to get that consistent grind needed for a fabulous cup. He's into the Baratza Encore, which comes in at an accessible price range for outstanding quality.

And for the true enthusiast, nothing cups with greater class than our own copper-finish Olympia Coffee Cupping Spoon. We have these handy in our Cupping Lab, and their perfectly-proportioned diameter-to-depth ratio combined with satisfying heft makes for a spoon we want to reach for every time.

Questions about cupping or coffee tasting?

You can always email us at Or take the conversation to text when you sign up for First Crack, Olympia Coffee's SMS! Either way, we're here — wherever your cup-tasting adventures take you.

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