Cupping Technique Part 3

Vietnamese Coffee Exporter

Cupping Technique Part 3. This is the most critical content in Cupping Coffee, and it follows a very specific SCAA (Specialty Coffee Association – American Association of Specialty Coffees) standard. By this point, you should have a good understanding of the basic concepts and Cupping sample preparation technique covered in the previous two sections:
The SCAA regulates the rest of the items in the sample assessment.

The rest of the items in the sample assessment are regulated by the SCAA,

4. Evaluation of Cupping
4.1. Evaluation process
4.2. Individual component scores
4.3. Final score – Final scoring

4. Cupping sample analysis

Cupping coffee is done for the following three purposes: sensory evaluation is generally good – or Cupping Coffee is made for the tracking three purposes:

  • Determine the actual difference between the samples.
  • Describe how the sample tastes.
  • Create your coffee sample preferences.

Because no sensory assessment can precisely address all of the aforementioned reasons, the evaluator must understand the assessment’s aim to determine the importance of the results after that. The quality of specific flavor qualities is assessed based on the sample’s experience. On a numerical scale, Cupper (the tester) is rated.

To document crucial flavor aspects for coffee, such as fragrance/aroma, flavor, and aftertaste, a Cupping Scoring Form (download here) is necessary. Taste), Acidity, Body, Balance, Uniformity, Clean Cup, Sweetness, Defects, and Overall.

Only Defects (Defects) will be deducted from the overall score, as all preceding traits are counted as plus points. The overall score is based on the cupper’s personal opinion of their taste experience. These values are graded on a 16-point scale that is divided into four quality levels:

Good (Good) Very Good (Very Good) Excellent (Excellent) Outstanding
6.00 7.00 8.00 9.00
6.25 7.25 8.25 9.25
6.5 7.5 8.5 9.5
6.75 7.75 8.75 9.75


4.1 Evaluation Methodology

The roast color of the first sample should be visually checked. Take your time to smell the coffee at this point since you’ll start to notice flavor hints as you proceed. Following that, the review process should proceed as follows:

Step 1: Aroma / Fragrance
Smell the aroma of dry coffee powder in the cup 15 minutes after the sample has been ground.

The layer of Crust (coffee powder + foam + coffee water floating on the surface of the cupping cup) on the character must be kept for 3 – 5 minutes after pouring boiling water. Break up the Crust by stirring three times and allowing the coffee foam to run down the back of the cupping spoon while slowly tasting the aroma. Scent characteristics and fragrance/aroma scores were recorded. Repeat with the following sample after rinsing the cupping spoon in hot water.


Step 2: Flavor, Aftertaste, Acidity, Body, Balance

The sample cools to around 71oC (160oF) after 8-10 minutes. Take a spoonful of coffee and suck/suck it into your mouth to stir it and cover as much of your mouth as possible, particularly your tongue and palate. At this step, the taste and aftertaste are assessed.

After the coffee has cooled below 71°C, the Acidity, Body, and Balance characteristics are assessed. The cupper’s judgment of how well the tastes, aftertaste, acidity, and bodywork together in a harmonious manner is called balance.

Acidity, Body, and Balance are assessed while the coffee cools (160o F – 140o F). A harmonic blend of Flavor, Aftertaste, Acidity, and Body is rated as balanced by the cupper.

Step 3: Cleanliness, uniformity, and sweetness
Sweetness, Uniformity, and Cleanliness are evaluated after the coffee temperature is decreased to near room temperature. Before the coffee cools to 21oC, the evaluation should be completed.
Step 4: Calculate your score
Cupper will score each attribute in the box in the upper right corner after analyzing all of the samples, using the following formula:

4.2. Attribute point with a single value

When you look at the form, you’ll notice that each attribute has a scale from 1 to 10. A single point is scored using this scale.

Horizontal scale (left to right): used to record the level of each attribute in all attributes.
Only accessible in Fragrance/Aroma, Acidity, and Body on the vertical scale – The sheer scale’s objective is to capture a more detailed description or state of each characteristic. Fragrance/Aroma, for example, will have two vertical scales: “Dry” (smell of dry powdered coffee) and “Break” (smell of Crush when broken); Body will have states ranging from “Heavy” to “Thin.”
A single attribute score will determine whether or not coffee is Special. (According to the American Special Coffee Association (SCAA = Specialty Coffee Association of America), coffee is only classified as “specialty” if it receives a quality rating of 80 to 100 on a scale.) There are a total of 11 qualities that must be assessed separately. The following is a detailed description of each attribute:

1. Fragrance/Aroma – Translation: Fragrance / Fragrance

When the coffee is still dry and ground, the fragrance is evaluated. On the other hand, the aroma is the aroma of coffee when it is blended with hot water. Fragrance/Aroma can be evaluated in three steps.

Before pouring boiling water into each cup, smell the aroma of coffee powder.

Breaking – The optimum moment to analyze the aroma of coffee is after pouring boiling water; use a hot spoon to de-crust the Crust (particle + foam + coffee water floating on the surface of the cupping cup) on the top of the cup. Place your nose right over the cup to smell the scent being breathed.

Wet – Inspect the aroma from stirring the cup to ensure that the entire coffee grounds are submerged in the water.

When sniffing dry, broken, or wet scents, a characteristic odor can be recorded in terms of quality, intensity, etc. The overall preference of the three Fragrance/Aroma aspects in a sample should be reflected in the final score.


2. Flavor: Flavor

The main features of coffee are depicted. The intensity, richness, and complexity of the tastes integrated into the coffee are used to assign a score for taste. During the examination, coffee is drawn into the mouth to fill the entire palate with flavor.

3. Aftertaste – Aftertaste

It is a term used to describe how something tastes after being consumed.
The length of flavor attributes that originate from the back of the throat and remain after the coffee has been consumed is known as an aftertaste. Give it a low grade if the aftertaste is brief and unpleasant.

4. Sourness – Acidity

Organic acids in coffee are responsible for the basic sour taste. Acidity is determined by the origin of the coffee and other characteristics such as roast level, intended use, and so on. Kenyan, Ethiopian, and different coffees are known for their high acidity. On the other hand, Coffee Sumatra is recognized for its low acidity.

5. Body – Avoid translating into Vietnamese if at all possible!

A trait that indicates the coffee’s strength or strength. The stronger the body, the more coffee-soluble substances, organic acids and oils, proteins, fiber, and so on there are. The body is also rated depending on the cupper’s experience with the origin of the coffee type, similar to Acidity (Example: Strongly expected Body characteristic is Sumatra coffee)

6. Balance


The score will be reduced if the sample lacks some scent or flavor components or some of the flavor features are too strong to overshadow the balance score.

7. Uniformity – Uniformity

Homogeneity describes how different glasses in the same tasting sample taste the same. If the tasting cups differ, giving this aspect a high grade will be impossible.

8. Clean Cup has three meanings: cleanliness, clarity, and simplicity

When evaluating this attribute, pay attention to the complete flavor experience from the first taste to the last swallow. Any odd flavor or scent that isn’t coming from the coffee won’t pass the quality test.

9. Sweetness has three different meanings: Sweetness

Sweetness refers to the sweetness of coffee, which is made up of carbs; however, you should not interpret it literally (Sweetness = Sweet) because coffee cannot be rated as a food. Because the sugar concentration after roasting is low, other sugary drinks are not an option. Sweetness, on the other hand, can be defined as the richness of coffee flavors – fullness.

This has a sour taste or does not aggressively lower the coffee’s quality. Defects are split into two categories: significant errors and minor errors.

10. Defects – Errors / Defects

A taint is an unpleasant flavor (a taste defect): “A taint” is commonly experienced in fragrance aspects and is usually a weird flavor, but not too strong or overwhelming (Aroma). A shame is worth two points (intensity).
A fault is a terrible flavor with excessive, unpleasant patterns. “A fault” often describes the taste and is priced at 4 points.
Faults/Defects must first be classed as “A taint” or “A fault,” and then a specific description must be provided (sour, fermented, etc.) The cupping template is recorded, and fault points are deducted.

11. Overall – Overall

Cupper’s personal feelings and experiences reflect the sample’s detailed evaluations. Even if a model has a high score, it will be given a lower grade if it does not fulfill characterization and flavor qualities expectations.

4.3 Final score – This is the final score

Cupper assesses each cup independently for each of the following attributes, awarding 2 points per cup/attribute (a maximum of 10 points per attribute with 5 cups per sample). Final scoring is calculated by adding all attribute points and subtracting the Defects score. According to the table below, the final score will indicate the coffee’s quality. Specialty coffee is defined as a coffee with an overall score of 80 or higher.

Total Quality Rating Score
90-100 Outstanding Specialty
85-89.99 Excellent (Excellent)
80-84.99 Very Good (Very Good)
<80.0 Below Specialty Quality Not Specialty


Conclude ./.

As a result of completing the contents of SCAA’s Cupping Techniques, Theory will not entirely represent reality. Still, it will provide you with the core information to utilize to improve your experience. Make your cup of coffee.

I want to reiterate the secret to becoming a good Cupper: believe in yourself by practicing often, and be humble enough to learn from others.


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