Working with the SCAE Gold Cup research group, I’m trying to put together a good coffee scoring sheet for different extractions of the same coffee. Which takes me back to question how we score and note coffees ourselves.
Cupping at Kaffemisjonen, we started out using the CoE scoring sheet to describe and score our coffees. But after a while we stopped scoring them all together. It seemed to take focus away from actually analyzing the coffee. It’s designed to help you rank hundreds of coffees from the same country, not to help you decide what coffees to buy the next week in your coffee shop.’
I still think forms are a good way of standardizing cupping notes, which makes communication easier as to how you rank a coffee. So I made one(click image for pdf-version):
The first part, “aroma”, is simply open space to put your taste descriptors. The second section is mouthfeel, which I have divided into four subcategories: body, minerality, viscosity and uniformity. The three first are to be scored from Low to High – the last as to how long the mouthfeel persists (a.k.a. deveolops as the coffee gets colder – does it keep it’s traits or transform quickly?).
Third section is taste. Sweetness is asked to be categorized as mostly towards Sugar Browning (Caramel, Vanilla, Chocolate, nuts etc) og mostly towards Enzymatic (Fruit, berries, florals, etc), then scored from low to high. Acidity, Bitterness and balance from Low to high.
Fourth section is complexity/development. Again you score the firs two according to how much it is. The last part is for graphing your experience with the coffee as time passes. Would you score it high or low at the first sip? How does it cooling down effect your experience with it?
At Kaffemisjonen we always cup coffees blindly. When the coffees are revealed, we rarely add anything to our notes apart from the names. However evaluating the coffee again when we know where it origins from, is also important information. “vs origin” reflects on weither it’s transparent (T)(easily detectable from origin, varietal and processing) or original(O)(Which by all means can be exciting as well). “vs expectations” goes to everything else, be it reputation of farm/roaster, someone elses opinion etc. The last part is for cuppers’ comments.
It’s just a first draft, and I already see some weaknesses with it. It needs a box for aftertaste, the scoring system needs to be more differentiated, the word “length” should be substituted with “time” etc. But it’s along the lines i want to go with this I think.
Comments are very welcome as to where to take this further.