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Specialty Coffee & Cupping Concepts

Specialty Coffee & Cupping Concepts

Specialty Coffee: The coffee qualities are according to its physical condition (the grading and classification) and its chemical condition (the cupping). Specialty Grade Coffee Beans: no primary defects, 0-3 full defects, sorted with a maximum of 5% above and 5% below specified screen size or range of screen size, and exhibiting a distinct attribute in one or more of the following areas: taste, acidity, body, or aroma.

Coffee Seed Density is the major element related to the Coffee Quality

Please read the Blog @ Blogger:
Specialty Coffee & Cupping Concepts

Coffee Batch Example: 3 full defects, less to 5% out of buyer’s size specification from the riddle of 13/64 inches to 20/64 inches so let’s say #16 and above to say [16,20] from size #16 included to #20 and only 5% less than size #16.

What immediate and valuable information you get from a Cupping number?
Example: With a cupping punctuation of 85 to say that coffee is having in average high distinguished characteristics, and a high probability each other characteristic with no less than 80 points.

Coffee Aroma, floral aroma compounds to compare with

Cupping Concepts:

First of all, Cupping is a process to evaluate the chemical condition of a particular type of coffee based on its classification and particular coffee batch. The reason is to determine a standard punctuation so every other party involved in the coffee business be clear on what are they buying, selling, and consuming from.

Therefore this number establishes a well known parameter for the value and its price.

There’s some previous steps to start a proper cupping process and all are related to the conditions of the place where the cupping take place. The high standard is a laboratory, a coffee one of course.

Every other element is important for its process and to keep up the correspondent standard. That means is based on a scientific and statistical model.

The most recognisable standard is the SCAA, but as far you can replicate your own conditions and keep them in the most accurate way is good enough. What I mean, is good you have the same level of light and intensity every other time, the same type of water, of course the same level of roast among each coffee you evaluate for each coffee batch.

The same quality of tools such as cups and spoons, but at the end is that you can keep the metrics of each condition under a register so you can replicate the condition.

The SCA and SCAA have a PDF file for guidance: 

PDF for Cupping Conditions & Coffee Standards

The Scale for cupping purpose is numeric to establish a statistical number, not an emotion. Not psychology of the coffee 🙂 a joke.

SCAA is for specialty coffee therefore 1/5 under 50/100 makes a bulk coffee so not part of the study. Reason why is for those coffees that each element and characteristic is at least 50 over 100.


Overall is your personal opinion for the coffee: some coffees have high body high acidity high sweetness so a high rate, but perhaps the notes are correlated to flavours that you dislike personally, example: roses: some people may have a bad experience with roses them personally that person will not buy roses b even are the best ones. That is one psychological element.

Clean of Cup and Uniformity.

Apparently the same if and only if the amount of cups to evaluate a particular batch is equal to 1.

Uniformity is refer to one of the particular amount of cups on which you evaluate if elements (acidity, body,etc) shows an stable behavior during the time (time in this case is in a each other slurp in that cup).

Cleanness of cup is referred to the consistency of each cup according to it’s uniformity. Each cup of the group must have equal behavior and same punctuation on each element (element such as body, aroma, acidity, etc)

Why? That’s to establish the group, the cup be in accordance to a true value, and not a false positive.

That evaluate not only the coffee, but the method and the evaluator (the cupper).

In general = overall.


Sweetness is the element that make pleasant the level of acidity. Like a tangerine, it’s sweet because sugars, it contains water, but it comes up pleasant because that balance between its acidity and sweetness.

That turn us to the concept of balance.


Balance is the element that says the aroma, the levels of body, acidity are in Harmony with the counterparts such as sweetness and flavour.


Aroma is divided in three: when ground (dry), when ready the extraction of the coffee in hot water (crust), and when ready to slurp (open crust, at this point cupper use two spoons in certain way to set apart the coffee pieces on the top of the cup, you can’t evaluate if slurp and some pieces remains on the spoon within the liquid)

Aroma, you give punctuation according to the identification of particular aroma well known for all the cuppers in accordance to a standard reference for example the SCAA coffee taster’s flavour wheel. Then how intense. The more intense the closer to 10/10.

Same practice to evaluate each other element for cupping each other batch of each other individual cup.


Acidity is the reaction of the coffee soluble elements over the tongue. The tongue has neurosensors distributed in tongue regions. Those regions determine how intense reacts the tongue to coffee and therefore how intense is the presence of acidity, sweetness, bitterness, any other chemical compound that may turn into the report of a desirable note or a defect if so.


Body: this element is also happening for a tongue reaction, but telling you how heavy is felt a particular note according to the same standard. Example: dark chocolate body in high intensity may give you 10/10 and you must write down also dark b chocolate. You may also detect another complementary body note such as syrupy, but still remains the body level and punctuation.


Flavour: here is when you really understand the coffee and you fully correlate to the flavour wheel standard.

You will get the picture and images of well known flavours come up: you must read from the center to the peripheral areas:

Sweet, what type? Cocoa (region on the wheel) what type? Dark chocolate.

Floral, what type? Black tea and roses.

Fruity, what type? Citrus. What type? Orange.

How sweet is that picture?

And this way you give an accurate punctuation.


Aftertaste; well after getting the flavour picture of that particular coffee what remains on the tongue?

  • Which flavour?
  • How intense?
  • How long does it still remains pleasant and consistent?

Each Coffee Batch is in accordance to a level of roast so how dark is a number in another standard: the Agtron scale. Developed by the Agtron Corporation (Reno, NV), the agtron scale is the most commonly used reference scale for roast color classification.

The scale ranges from 25 to 95 and is the measure of light reflected off roasted coffee – measured in either ground or whole bean form. The lower the number, the darker the coffee (i.e. less light reflected back) while larger numbers refer to lighter roasts. Photo below illustrates a typical color disc.

Learn about:

Please after read take this example of a real cupping evaluated. I hope this makes all Coffee Cupping Concepts & Coffee Quality be clearer.

Coffee Process Diagram.
You as a cupper and as a Coffee Producer must know about the Coffee Wet Process and the Dry Process

Cupping Table developed by Alejandro David Bolanos

Coffee Viena – Vienna Roast

Coffee ‘Viena’ is coffee fruit Sun-dried of Red Cherries only with exquisite balance of notes between Almonds, Chocolate.
Its profile is Vienna Roast only. And for keeping its quality and characteristics we grade it also after roasted according to riddle #15 and up.

‘Café Viena’ descritption and characteristics.
Roast: ‘Vienna‘. 
Process: Un-washed, coffee fruit Sun-dried. A distinguished flavour like prunes and dry fruits.
Type and Varietal: 100% Arabiga: ‘Red Catuai’, and ‘Caturra’. 
Single origin: Arenal, Matagalpa, Nicaragua.
Single batch:  from one farm lot only.
The Aftertaste: Almonds, Chocolate, and Raisins.
High Balance: high sweetness, high acidity.

EsquinaDeLosCafes presents Café Viena:

Vienna Roasting Profile is distinguished to be as bright and oily as an ‘Italian Profile’, but as light as a ‘Full City’ Colour.

Café Viena. Vienna Roasting Profile. 100% Arábiga. 'Viena Coffee' Taste: Almonds, Chocolate, and raisins.
Café Viena. Vienna Roasting Profile. 100% Arábiga.
‘Viena Coffee’ Taste: Almonds, Chocolate, and raisins.

Café Vienna in Facebook
EsquinaDeLosCafes : Facebook : photos : Café Viena

Fresh brewed coffee.  Natural Destilation by gravity. Vienna Roast. Natural Process. Dried in fruit. Double grade
Fresh brewed coffee. Natural Destilation by gravity. Vienna Roast. Natural Process. Dried in fruit. Double grade

About the Coffee Process for Coffee ‘Viena’

The Selection:
Selectively Picked – only the ripe cherries
are harvested and they are picked individually by hand. Pickers rotate among the trees every 8 – 10 days, choosing only the cherries which are at the peak of ripeness. Because this kind of harvest is labor intensive, and thus more costly, it is used primarily to harvest the finer arabica beans.

The Coffee is not a bean, GreenBean is the name to denote:
#1. coffee seed moisture is 10% to 12%
#2. and graded by its physical qualities
In general, Green Bean is a non-roasted Coffee Seed ready for the roasting process.
For that the humidity must be low enough to not get boiled or burned inside the roasting machine. Usually is around 10% and less than 12%.

The Process: 
The process involved is to dry the Coffee Seeds  as it comes from the tree so the ripped fruit (the red cherries) are being transport to the sun patios to start the drying process.
The usual beans used are extra mature. The drying time is approximately 5 weeks because we need to dehydrate the pulp first and then the bean (the seed or seeds inside the fruit).

The Grading, The Classification: By Density, Size of the Riddle, Varietal of Arabiga, Altitude.

Coffee Density is the major element related to the Coffee Quality. The density classification starts at the selection after depulping. In the case of Natural Process (the un-washed process) is not possible because the fruit all of them floats in water. The density classification starts in the Dry Millin densimetric machines after to get established the clasification by size in accordance to the Riddle size. 

The Riddle Size:
the range is a riddle between (13/64) inch to (20/24) inch

Altitude of the cultivars and influence of the climate latitude: Each standard is established by country according to their latitude and farming conditions. Example: Costa Rica standard says SHB is above 1200 meters of elevation, to get same condition for a SHB (strictly hard beans) you require 1000 meters of elevation in Nicaragua and that is the climate latitude affection.

The Coffee quality and distinctive notes. Density

Density is the major element related to the Coffee Quality

The Coffee Notes relies on:
#1. The variety in particular (Java, Bourbon, Maragogype, etc).
#2. The density which at the same time depends on:
2.1. The Altitude, like SHB refers to the High Density Bean, which according to its latitude varies the reference height, example 1200 m in Costa Rica = SHB = 1000 m in Nicaragua.
2.2. The chemical composition of the Coffee Seed in which the CHLOROGENIC acid is the compound that determines the density.
High density is a Coffee Seed that contains between 6.0%, 6.5%, 7.0%, which in turn defines that its density is 0.68 g / mL, of 0.70 g / mL, of 0.72 g / mL respectively.

#3. The chemical composition of the soil, for this the preparation according to the analysis and evaluation in the leaves determines the deficiencies and the repairs.
#4. The Water: Rainfall, or irrigation, is important at the time of the growth of the seed, the endocarp, and in itself of the fruit and the plant. #5. The level of light and its use in the process of photosynthesis and maturation (beta carotene) is essential in combination with the above factors: type of variety, water, composition of soil and nutrient, and height.

Revista-Tecnica-de-Cafe-Grano de Cafe de Alta Densidad Proceso Maillard Cultivo Entrelazado Efecto de la Altura Region Aranjuez, Santa Marta, Reserva Natural El Arenal
Revista-Tecnica-de-Cafe-Diseño de Perfil de Café y Curva de Tueste, Tipo de Tostador, Ventajas Tecnologicas, Procesos No-Convencionales de Cafe y valor de taza

Más información? Cursos Técnicos a la medida.
Contacte a Alejandro David Bolaños-Salvatierra


Clarification: the shadow factor in relation to density and height.

#1. The shadow is not a growth factor. It would be seen as ABSENCE of Light.
#2. Each plant is different according to its variety, so your presumption is 100% wrong.
Why? Example a Geisha is designed for heights above 2000 meters and dense cloud conditions. Another type of plant like a caturor or catimor simply rot in its roots and its grains never mature.
#3. The shade is specifically to avoid severe exposures to heat (dehydration of the plant), and burns of the leaves and that occurs in especially low areas to areas of medium height where the orographic conditions are high exposure, dry forests, and higher relative concentration of oxygen in the air which increases the heat.

These are lower density coffees due to that higher concentration of oxygen, which does not stress the silver so that it has the need to create new chemical compounds and thus increase the complexity of its notes and flavors.

Coffee Center: EsquinaDeLosCafes Matagalpa, Nicaragua
Specialty Coffee and Non-Conventional Coffee Premium Chocolate and High Grade Cocoa Seeds.

Coffee Center : EsquinaDeLosCafes Matagalpa, Nicaragua
Coffee Center : EsquinaDeLosCafesMatagalpa, Nicaragua