Cupping Techniques – Sample Evaluation and Scoring in Cupping – SCA

Vietnamese Coffee Exporter

Cupping Techniques – Sample Evaluation and Scoring in Cupping – SCA. Sample evaluation and scoring is the core element of the Cupping Coffee technique and is very explicitly regulated by the SCA. However, because no sensory evaluation can be practical, the evaluator must know the exact purpose of each cupping and the meaning of the results after the assessment. By this stage, you should have mastered the basic concepts and techniques of preparing Cupping pieces in the following two parts:

The following is the remaining content in the evaluation of samples regulated by SCA (Or ​​you can download the original version of SCA on Cupping Coffee)

Overview of the evaluation process, scoring

Sensory evaluation in general, or Cupping Coffee in particular, is carried out for the following three purposes:

  • Identify the real difference between samples
  • Describe the taste of the sample
  • Get a personal feel for coffee samples

No sensory assessment can deal with all of the above reasons perfectly, so the evaluator must know exactly what the purpose of the assessment is to check the significance of the results after the assessment. . The quality of specific flavor attributes is analyzed and scored based on the experience of the Cupper (the tester). (SCA)

A Cupping Scoring Form download here ) is required to document essential flavour characteristics for Coffee,e including Fragrance/AromaFlavor, and Aftertaste. Taste), AcidityBodyBalanceUniformityClean CupSweetnessDefects, defects), and finally  Overall.

All of the above attributes are counted plus points. Only Defects (Defects, defects) will be deducted from the overall score. The overall score is based on the individual Cupper’s taste experience as a personal judgment. These values ​​are rated on a 16-point scale represented by four quality levels as follows:

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

General grading process

The coffee sample should first be visually inspected for roast colour. Take the time to smell the Coffee at this stage because gradually, as you experience, you will see flavour hints during the tasting process through the aromas of the beans. Next, the evaluation process should follow the following sequence:

Step 1: Fragrance / Aroma

Within 15 minutes after the sample has been ground, smell the scent of the dried coffee powder in the cup.

Cupping in coc when cool - cupping
Use a spoon to stir the Crust layer and the Aroma of the Coffee.

After pouring boiling water, 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. Break the crust by stirring three times, making the coffee foam run to the back of the cupping spoon while gently sniffing to assess the Aroma. Fragrance/Aroma scores and scent qualities were recorded. Rinse the cupping spoon in hot water, and repeat with the following sample.

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

After 8-10 minutes, the sample cools to about 71ºC (160ºF). Use a spoon to take the Coffee and then suck/suck it into the mouth so that the Coffee covers as much in the mouth as possible, especially the tongue and palate. Taste and aftertaste (Flavor, Aftertaste) are evaluated at this point. When the Coffee continues to cool below 71ºC (160º F – 140º), the Acidity, Body, and Balance factors are felt more clearly.

Step 3: Sweetness, Uniformity, Cleanliness

When the coffee temperature is lowered to near room temperature, SweetnessUniformity and Cleanliness are assessed. The evaluation should be finished before the Coffee has cooled to 21ºC.

Note: During the coffee tasting, the sample should not be swallowed. Because no matter how addicted you are to coffee. Coffee has been shown to strongly influence taste in sensory evaluation. “Swallowing” too many samples will lose the “fairness” of the final samples.

Step 4: Score

After evaluating all the samples, Cupper will score in the box in the upper right corner of each attribute according to the following form:

SCAA Cupping Scoring Form
Cupping Scoring Form – Original Download 

Score single attributes

Looking at the form, you will see that each attribute will have a scale from 1 to 10. This scale is used to score a single point.

  • Horizontal scale (left to right): available in all attributes to record the level of each point.
  • Vertical Scale: Only available in Fragrance/Aroma, Acidity, Body – The purpose of the sheer scale is to capture a more specific description or state of each attribute. For example, Fragrance/Aroma will have two vertical scales, one for “Dry” (smell of dry powdered Coffee) and “Break” (smell when breaking Crush); Body will have states from “Heavy” to “Thin”.

A single attribute score will indicate whether any coffee is a Special coffee. (According to the American Specialty Coffee Association (SCA = Speciality Coffee Association), Coffee is only called “speciality” when it scores from 80 to 100 points on a rating scale.) There are a total of 11 attributes that need to be evaluated individually. Each feature is described in detail as follows:


Fragrance – Aroma from dry coffee powder, if freshly roasted coffee beans, will have a more pronounced dry aroma than long-roasted Coffee. Meanwhile, Aroma is the scent of Coffee when mixed in hot water. One can evaluate Fragrance/Aroma in three steps.

  • Dry Aroma – Smell the Aroma of coffee powder in each cup before pouring boiling water in
  • Breaking – After pouring boiling water is the best time to evaluate the Aroma of Coffee; 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 directly over the cup to smell the scent being inhaled.
  • Wet Aroma – Smell the Aroma that comes out when stirring the cup to make sure the whole Coffee is submerged in the water.
Cupping coffee Prime Coffee (1)
Aroma is the scent of Coffee when mixed in hot water

A characteristic odour can be recorded in terms of quality, intensity, etc., when smelling dry, broken, or wet scents. The final score should reflect the overall preference of the three Fragrance/Aroma dimensions in a sample.


Flavour – Taste, along with Aroma, represents the two main characteristics of Coffee. Usually, the first impression is given by Acidity and ends with an aftertaste. Scientifically, the flavour is a complex sensory property of taste and smell. Therefore, the flavour is best experienced when Coffee is strongly drawn into the mouth to fill the entire palate. Evaluation process. The score given for taste must take into account the intensity, quality and complexity of flavours in combination with the Aroma of the Coffee.


Aftertaste can be understood as the length of flavour qualities that come from the back of the throat and remain after the Coffee is swallowed. If the aftertaste is short and unpleasant, give it a low score.


Organic acids in Coffee characterize Acidity. Acidity is assessed based on the origin of the type of Coffee or factors such as roast level, intended use, etc. Coffees are expected to have high Acidity in Kenya, Ethiopia, etc. Meanwhile, Coffee Sumatra is known for its low Acidity.


Body – is an attribute that represents the strength or strength of the Coffee. This is the result of a combination of soluble solids found in Coffee, organic acids and oils, proteins, fibre… the more and more diverse, the stronger the Body. Like Acidity, the Body is also evaluated based on Cupper’s experience with the origin of the coffee variety (Example: Strongly expected Body characteristic is Sumatra coffee)

Balance – Balance

Taste Balance – If the sample lacks some aroma or flavour properties or some of the flavour attributes are too strong to overwhelm, the balance score will be reduced.

Uniformity – Uniformity

Uniformity – Uniformity refers to the consistency in the taste of different glasses in the same tasting sample. If the taste cups are other, the rating of this aspect will not be able to be high.

Clean Cup

When evaluating this attribute, pay attention to the taste experience from initial tasting to final swallowing. Any strange taste or Aroma that is not derived from the Coffee will not be of the quality standard.


Sweetness represents the Sweetness in Coffee, which comprises some carbohydrates. You should not translate it literally in Vietnamese ( Sweetness = Sweet) because Coffee cannot be evaluated directly as food. Other sugary drinks because the sugar content after roasting is very little. Instead, Sweetness can be understood as the fullness and fullness of coffee flavours – fullness.

Defects – Errors / Defects

Defective coffee beans (or impurities) that are not graded before roasting will lead to sour flavours – collectively called Defect. In terms of sensory evaluation, Defects are divided into two main groups as follows:

  • A taint is an off-flavour (a defect in scent): Usually a strange taste, but not much, not overwhelming. A shame is often encountered in aspects of Aroma (Aroma) and is rated 2 points (intensity).
  • A fault is an off-flavour. These are sour flavours with overwhelming intensity and unpleasant samples. A defect usually characterizes the taste and is rated 4 points.

Faults / Defects must be classified first as a taint or a fault, then a specific description (sour, fermented, etc.) Fault points are recorded and deducted from the cupping template.

Overall – Overall

Reflects the sample’s comprehensive evaluations through Cupper’s personal feelings and experiences. Even with a high score, a representative with many pleasant aspects will still receive a lower rating if it does not meet its characterization expectations and reflects particular flavour qualities.

Final score – Final scoring

Cupper evaluates each cup individually for each of the above properties, adding 2 points/cup/attribute (with 5 cups per sample will have a maximum of 10 points/1 detail). Final scoring – Final scoring is all attribute points added together minus the Defects score. The final score will show the quality of the Coffee according to the following table. A coffee with an overall score above 80 is considered a Specialty Coffee.

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

Although the last point is important because it shows the quality of the coffee to what extent it should be evaluated. But at the top are still the senses gathered in tasting the sample. If you are a professional Cupper, you will see the importance of descriptive notes about Aroma, Flavor or Body, Balance… Because that’s really what you need to understand about coffee.

Conclude ./.

Thus completing the contents of the Cupping Technique prescribed by SCA, Theory will not completely reflect reality. Still, these are the basic knowledge for you to apply to improve your experience. Try your Coffee.

Once again, I would like to repeat the secret to being a good Cupper: Believe in yourself by practising regularly and have the humility to continue to learn from others.


  • Tasting Coffee –
  • Coffee Cupping: A Basic Introduction –


Helena Coffee Vietnam

Helena Coffee Processing & Export in Vietnam | Helena., JSC, which was established in 2016, is a Vietnamese coffee exporter, manufacturer & supplier. We provide the most prevalent varieties of coffee grown in Vietnam’s renowned producing regions.

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