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Answering the fundamentals about Coffee Cupping

24 January 2021

In this week’s news blog edition, we will try to have an introductory look into the fundamentals of coffee cupping. From green coffee buyers, roasters, quality control specialists, baristas, and several others along the supply chain, coffee is evaluated and scored by a standard methodology called cupping. For green coffee buyers, cupping is crucial in deciding which coffee to be purchased whereas, for roasters, cupping means choosing the right roast profile to ensure the coffee is developed at the right stage. For quality control specialists, this translates to making sure every coffee bean that makes out of the warehouse is ready for export tastes excellent without any potential defects or foul flavors.

Aromatic Profile

What’s fascinating about the aroma is that there are currently over 800 varieties of aromatic compounds found in coffee which to a large extent influence the overall flavor perception.
Evaluating the array of flavor profiles will give an idea of what to expect in each cup. The cupper can use this part of the cupping process to be attentive towards any faults and note them down, be it green coffee or roasted coffee.


Anything recorded for flavor should be from the overall flavor experience coupled with an aroma that would be experienced from the behind of our olfactory epithelium.
A great way to think about how flavor can be experienced is to 5 basic tastes and their composition in coffee. These can be referred to as gustatory characteristics that are everything experienced in the mouth.


Uniformity, Clean Cup and Sweetness

These sections are used if you are working with lower quality conventional coffees as it deals with adjusting the score based on the level of defect. These are frequently used by Q-Graders, Green buyers, and people in similar roles.
But still being aware of uniformity is probably the first aspect to be focused on under these three categories. If there is something out of place about a cup, mark it down, start again and reassess. If the cupper is marking this section, there is a high chance that he or she will have to mark down clean cup and sweetness too, but that will depend upon the defect that arose from it.



This segment is a personal evaluation of the coffee. This is filled out at the end of the cupping process after all other characteristics are closely evaluated. The whole system is then evaluated based on a 100 point scale. Coffee with scores of 80 or more is considered a specialty coffee. As one of the preeminent coffee traders and emerging producers, Sinopia Coffee has a proud profile specializing in coffees sourced from Yirgacheffe, Sidamo, Guji, Harrar, Lekempti, and Djimmah where some of the world’s finest specialty coffees are produced.



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