Quality, in the case of coffee, ultimately means flavour, as this is the aspect of coffee perceived by consumers as valuable. The assessment of coffee flavour quality is therefore the key tool for quality assurance in coffee, and is essential in strategies for achieving higher-value coffee. In this chapter, we discuss the definition of ‘quality’ as applied to commercial and speciality coffee, and then argue that despite many interesting advancements in the prediction of coffee flavour using instrumental, analytical methods, nevertheless the only practical way to analyse coffee flavour is still through sensory assessment. This usually means cupping, the process of grading coffee quality based on tasting performed by an expert using a specific protocol. We review how cupping has evolved, the protocols involved and how it can be used as a tool to reach consensus about quality. Finally, we consider other meaningful quality parameters related to coffee processing.
Table of contents
2 The evolution of cupping over the last 15 years
3 The SCAA Cupping Protocol
4 Cupping as a tool for quality-based decisions
5 Other meaningful quality parameters in coffee processing
7 Where to look for further information