Coffee cupping scoring sheets

posted: 4114 days ago, on Sunday, 2006 Aug 20 at 16:30
tags: coffee.

Tasting a selection of coffees so that they can be inter-compared is called cupping. Each coffee is rated according to whatever evaluation guidelines you have, and the scores recorded on a form.

The criteria we have used are:

  1. Aroma: Describe the smell of the coffee before tasting, and rate the intensity of the aroma.
  2. Acidity: The pleasing brightness or sharpness in the coffee. Acidity can be intense or mild, round or edgy, elegant or wild, and everything in between. It is the high, thin notes, the dryness the coffee leaves at the back of your palate and under the edges of your tongue. It's the pleasant tartness, snap, or twist, combined with an underlying sweetness; it is bright, dry, sharp, brisk, vibrant. (An acidy coffee is somewhat analogous to a dry wine.) A coffee that lacks acidity tastes flat. Acidity should be distinguished from sour or astringent.
  3. Body/Mouthfeel: The sense of weight, tactile richness, thickness or heaviness that the coffee exerts in the mouth when you swish it around; how it coats the palate; its balance. Can be very difficult for beginning cuppers to identify it is useful to think about the viscosity or thickness of the coffee, and concentrate on the degree to which the coffee has a physical presence. It also describes texture: oily, buttery, thin, etc.
  4. Sweetness Balance: The extent to which the sweetness provides balance and eases the finish. The degree of harmony between the acidic and sweet flavours.
  5. Aftertaste/Finish: Describes the immediate sensation after the coffee is swallowed; the coffee's finish in your mouth. Some coffees develop in the finish; they change in pleasurable ways. The ideal finish has enough endurance to carry the flavor for 10 seconds after swallowing, affirming with great clarity the principal flavour of the coffee, leaving a lingering, pleasant, non-bitter and non-sour aftertaste.
  6. Overall Taste: The catch-all for all the actual "tastes" the coffee givess. What does it taste like? Describe any directly identifiable fleeting flavour notes you may taste.
  7. Personal Preference: Do I like it? Does it taste nice?


Each coffee is rated according to these criteria on a scoring sheet, which you can download:

coffee cupping scoring sheet we use


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