Tag Archives: Cupping Concepts

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