of sensory traits

Since the mid-19th century, thanks to the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), cupping has become the preferred method for evaluating the sensory characteristics of roasted coffee in its purest form.

This method involves preparing coffee in the simplest manner: coarsely grinding it, placing it in a cup, and pouring water at 96°C (204°F) in a coffee-water ratio of 1:18. The sample must be examined within 24 hours of roasting.

Subsequently, the evaluator’s senses are activated to uncover the coffee’s true identity: the aroma, the aftertaste, which is evaluated for its persistence and intensity. Then comes the assessment of acidity, the body of the coffee (the tactile sensation in the mouth), the harmonic balance among various attributes, sweetness, absence of olfactory or gustatory interference, aroma consistency, and complexity.

At the end of the coffee cupping process, a coffee that has achieved a cupping score of at least 80 out of 100 will be deemed a specialty coffee.

It’s worth noting that the first true evaluative step occurs on the plantation through the visual appearance of green coffee beans. This work is carried out by women, who play a crucial role in the entire coffee supply chain.

Evaluation of sensory traits
specialty coffee