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Cupping 8 by 7 – August 13  @psychohistorian.org

Cupping 8 by 7 – August 13

posted: 4201 days ago, on Sunday, 2008 Aug 24 at 18:50
tags: coffee.

Eight coffees, seven coffee lovers. Our first "big" cupping session in which we learnt a lot & had great fun.

We followed a double-blind protocol, as follows. The eight coffees were put in identical plastic bags. A label identifying the coffee, folded double, was taped to the bag, and on the outside of the label, 'A', 'B', 'C' etc. was written. From these bags, four were randomly drawn for the first round. Thus, neither coffee maker nor coffee taster knew which brand of coffee was being dealt with.

Each barista made four servings of coffee, the grounds being tamped down with a special weight Hans machined, to ensure the compaction was similar. The tasters were then presented with four different coffees, which they rated. In the second round, the remaining four coffees were served. The process was repeated, with the tasters and makers switching roles.

The eight coffees that we evaluated were:

  1. Illy Lungo (pink)
  2. Illy Espresso (red)
  3. Lavazza Rossa
  4. Mokambo Argento
  5. Segafredo Intermezzo
  6. Segafredo Espresso
  7. Spar Espresso Filter
  8. Woolworth's Italian Blend.

The evaluation criteria and scoring form are available, although after this experience, we will probably use a simpler version next time.

After all participants had cupped, we discussed the event while munching home-made chocolate cake. Possibly the main lesson we learnt is that after eight cups of coffee, it all begins to taste equally bland. We also agreed that it's important to make sure that the coffee remains hot enough during the evaluation – some coffees taste particularly grotty when cold. We undertook to try fewer coffees next time – say three or four – and also to reduce the group size.

A summary of the results appear at the bottom of the page, after the photos of the event.


"How much do I like this coffee?"

7 = lowest possible score, 31.5 = average, 56 = full marks

40: Illy Lungo (Pink)
40: Segafredo Espresso
37: Illy Espresso (Red)
25: Mokambo
25: Segafredo Intermezzo
25: Woolworths
19: Lavazza Rossa
17: Spar Espresso


2 = terrible, 3 = bad, 4 = below average, 5 = above average, 6 = nice, 7 = very pleasant

5.4 Segafredo Espresso
5.0 Woolworths
5.0 Illy espresso (red)
4.0 Spar espresso
4.0 Mokambo
4.0 Illy lungo (pink)
3.8 Segafredo Intermezzo
2.7 Lavazza Rossa

Aroma comments

Woolworths: "bad", "nice"
Spar Espresso: "bad", "bitter", "slight tar taste", "damp towel?"
Segafredo Intermezzo: "old bean smell", "fantastic!"
Lavazza Rossa: "nice", "incredibly sour"
Illy espresso (red): "Vaseline?"

Overall comments

Woolworths: "smooth aftertaste, sweet", "not strong, a hangover coffee", "terrible", "thin; like a corpse"
Spar Espresso: "plastic, feeble","would send it back at a coffee shop","bland"
Segafredo Intermezzo: "old stale bean taste"
Segafredo Espresso: "great!", "bad"
Mokambo: "just plain bad, not espresso","my gran would like this one","socks","mediocre"
Lavazza Rossa: old bean taste, not espresso!","not too bad","bad"
Illy lungo (pink): "smooth aftertaste", "sweet","not bad"
Illy espresso (red): "good","sweet aftertaste, caramel","crap"

nothing more to see. please move along.

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