The Importance of Coffee Cupping in Evaluating Coffee Quality


The Importance of Coffee Cupping in Evaluating Coffee Quality – In every roasting result, there will be notes containing evaluations and the taste of the roasted beans. To create these notes, you can use the coffee cupping method. This process is crucial because the result of coffee cupping helps you provide information regarding the coffee’s quality.

Meanwhile, coffee cupping itself is a practice to observe the flavor and aroma of brewed coffee. Cupping aims to evaluate the characteristics and quality of specific roasted beans. By conducting cupping, we can compare the quality of roasted beans. In this chance, we will provide detailed information about coffee cupping.

What is Coffee Cupping?


As reported by Wikipedia, coffee cupping is an activity to observe the flavor and aroma of brewed coffee. To perform the coffee cupping, you can follow the standard protocol from Specialty Coffee Association (SCA). By following the general standard, the prepared samples can be done with the same cupping method so you can do a better evaluation.

In coffee cupping, it is common to sniff the aroma of the coffee, followed by slurping the coffee. So coffee cupping will rely on olfactory and gustatory senses. While you’re tasting coffee, you are also required to identify if there are any distinct flavors in the coffee. This process is crucial to be carried out because every flavor and aroma experienced will be used to determine the consistency of the coffee’s quality.

The Role of Coffee Cupping in the Coffee Industry

With the presence of standardization of the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA), this standard protocol has become a reference for various parties regarding the evaluation result of coffee. If the evaluator is a Q Grader, then most industry practitioners will follow the results of the coffee cupping process. However, if a group of non-professionals does it, the result will become a reference within the group.

Every time the cupper tastes the coffee, they will try to find if there are any different flavors in the coffee. With the existence of evaluation, it will be easier to establish the consistency of coffee quality. Coffee cupping is part of the Quality Control (QC). Because coffee cupping can help correct whether the brewing or roasting process has been done correctly or not.

The Aspects of Coffee Evaluation

During the coffee cupping, you need to evaluate the notes regarding several assessments on a cupping form. The following are some common characteristic traits to evaluate in a coffee:

SCA cupping form
Cupping Form by SCA

1. Aroma

Two types of aroma should be perceived in coffee, that is fragrance, or the smell of ground coffee before hot water is poured, and aroma or the smell of brewed coffee.

2. Flavor

There are various flavors in coffee. Each coffee has a standard taste and flavor analysis for a cup of coffee. Usually, baristas use a flavor wheel as a reference to determine the standard taste of a coffee.

3. Acidity

Acidity produced by coffee. The acidity obtained from coffee usually gives a refreshing acidity sensation like the taste of acid in fruit.

4. Sweetness

Sweetness is a core of specialty coffee. The sweetness in coffee is associated with the aroma of nuts, chocolate, or caramel flavor. Usually, this sweetness comes from the sugar in the coffee beans that undergo caramelization during the roasting process. The sweetness obtained will make the taste of coffee more enjoyable.

5. Body

The sensation that is felt when coffee passes through the taste buds. Usually, this sensation can make us determine whether the coffee has a light, smooth, creamy, or heavy taste.

6. Aftertaste

How long the positive taste lingers on the back of the palate after the coffee is spit or swallowed. Does the aftertaste last long or disappear too quickly.

7. Balance

The balance between the characteristics and combination of all aspects, how well every aspect is interact with each other. If there are aspects that are excessive or lacking, it will result in a lower score.

8. Clean cup

Coffee is said to have a “clean cup” if there are no negative values from taste to aftertaste, and will be given a score. If there is an unusual or disturbing taste that persists into the aftertaste, it will be disqualified and not given a score.

9. Uniformity

Uniformity is the evaluation conducted on five cups containing the same coffee sample. If the cupper detects an unusual flavor, it will be discarded and not evaluated.

10. Overall

Assessment of overall coffee flavor, has the coffee met the criteria and preferences of the cupper. People usually refer to this assessment as a personal cupper evaluation.

11. Defects

Defects are imperfections in coffee, which can result in a reduction in coffee quality, such as taint (contamination odor) and fault (unpleasant taste in coffee).

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