Coffee Scoring / Calibration

(Christopher Rodgers) #1

context: I work with a small team buying, roasting, and brewing.

I’ve heard of a few different ways of scoring coffee. Traditional out of 100 scoring, out of 10, as well as out of 6 depending on the purpose of the exercise.

How do you score your coffee for green buying?
How do you score your brewing / batch brew coffee?

Anything else you’d like to contribute on the subject? I’m trying to find the most effective short hand for discussing green quality / brewing quality in a closed loop. In other words doing it the way everyone else does is of less value.

(Karl Norman) #2

Hi Christopher. I work for a small roastery. There’s the husband-and-wife owners, me, and two other employees. We don’t really score coffees for internal use. If an importer asks us, we will score how they request (usually SCA standard). What we primarily look at are the major tasting categories (i.e. fragrance/aroma, flavor, acidity, aftertaste, body, sweetness, balance) as well as how we plan to sell the coffee. So for example, if we have a Guatemalan, and we need to buy a new Guatemalan, we might look for one that is similar in profile. Or, we might decide there’s something way better on the cupping table that we want to switch to. We also know our market and customer base, so we are aware of the types of profiles that will sell easily or that will be more niche. I think as long as your team is small, just try to get on the same page in terms of what you’re all looking for in coffee and what your goals are in selecting a coffee. We always discuss the coffee first in objective terms without applying a score. It’s at that point that we have the widest range of opinion, ironically. But when we contextualize the coffee in terms of price, marketability, and compatibility with our other offerings, we are usually in the same head space.