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Evaluation of Taste in Coffee

According to the accepted requirements of the SCA, the presentation and evaluation of coffee is carried out in several stages:

Ground coffee flavor

brewed coffee flavor

Taste rating






Rating - is a set of scores you put for each parameter based on your own objective feelings. As a rule, the potential of the grain is evaluated in the examples given, so all preconceptions about roasting and freshness of coffee should be thrown into the background. Protocol evaluation is one of the essential processes in the life of every Specialty Coffee connoisseur.

What is this necessary for?

This is a necessary condition for those who monitor the quality of the grain coffee produced, who buy and have the opportunity to give feedback not only to the company involved in the supply of green coffee, but also to the farmer. It is also a professional and in-depth assessment, giving you the opportunity to contribute to the development of the coffee world with a little personal research. The protocol is an A4 sheet with horizontal form, with all elements filled from left to right. It is possible to define and evaluate three very coffees at the same time on one page. Therefore, you will need 4 protocols to identify and evaluate 12 lots. Some companies that produce freshly roasted coffee also have more simplified variations of this form. It is mainly created for baristas and coffee lovers so that they can get feedback on their products. After all, to fill out the official protocol, you will need not only tremendous experience, but also time to sort everything dot-by-dot and correctly fill out the form using the maximum number of comments.

Ground Coffee Flavor

First of all, we evaluate the dry smell of coffee immediately after it has been ground. We inhale deeply the aroma that emanates with the carbon dioxide. With it, secreted substances that carry a certain aroma interact with it. The nature of the fragrance inhaled indicates the profile of the freshly roasted grain. How the coffee is roasted can be determined at this stage. Namely, the depth of the dry aroma. Sweet aromas are characteristic of sour coffee types and sharpness is inherent in coffee with a sharp taste and an intense sweet body. (fragrance intensity indicates the freshness of the sample, that is, the time elapsed from the moment of roasting). Fragrance is made up of the most volatile substances, so one dry aroma is not enough to properly appreciate coffee.

Brewed Coffee Flavor

The second step is to evaluate the aroma of the samples poured into the glass with hot water. We let the coffee particles brew for 4 minutes. At the moment of pouring the glasses, a lid is formed from the lightest particles. The denser this hat, the richer the coffee. With the help of a tasting spoon, gently break the lid, stirring lightly. We draw the gases formed by the effect of high water temperature into the nasal cavity. The moist aroma of coffee allows you to understand the general character of the cup, which can vary from fruity to nutty. At this stage, a general sense of aroma is formed: either affirmed or supplemented with new tones.


The next step is to study the taste of brewed coffee beans in detail. After all glasses are cleaned, they are given 7 minutes to cool to a comfortable temperature. They also bring it into their mouths using a special tasting spoon that quickly removes the heat and sucks it vigorously. Due to the rapid absorption of the liquid, the coffee is evenly distributed over the entire surface of the tongue. All nerve endings (papillae) simultaneously respond to the sweet, salty, sour and bitter taste of coffee, which allows you to most accurately evaluate the entire flavor range. Along the way, describing descriptors (using your experience), intensity and duration of the resulting taste.

It is worth noting that temperature affects the perception of any stimulus, so it is important to understand what helps you identify this or that taste. For example: as the temperature reduces the sweetness of sugars, when tasting sour fresh coffee varieties on the tip of the tongue, there is first a tingling sensation associated with the acid and only then the sweetness is felt. Hold the coffee in your mouth for three to five seconds. In this way, primary and secondary taste sensations can be evaluated.

Simultaneous evaluation of the senses of smell and taste of coffee. When absorbed, it is aerated, due to which part of the dissolved organics turns into gas. Strong sucking movements direct these gases into the nasal cavity.

This simultaneous evaluation of flavor and vaporous organic matter helps you experience a unique bouquet for each sample. Medium roast coffees usually have the flavor characteristics of roasted sugar byproducts, while dark roast coffees usually have the flavor characteristics of dry distilled/distilled coffees. It is evaluated both for a hot cup and for a hot cup. It will be difficult to define this parameter in cooling.


The fourth step of the evaluation is the determination of the brewed coffee beans.determining the aftertaste. Start with a small sip of coffee after holding it in your mouth for a few seconds. With the help of strong contractions of the pharynx, the remnants of coffee vapor are sent from the distant points of the palate into the nasal cavity. Thus, aftertaste is determined by repeatedly washing the coffee across the palate and sending this response to the brain to reinforce the sensations received. If the sensations are long, the aftertaste can be characterized both in the hot temperature of the glass and in the cold. Aftertaste agents may taste like chocolate (sweet), campfire or tobacco smoke (burnt), spices such as cloves (sharp), pine resin (resinous). These flavor properties can be found in various combinations.

Acidity (i.e. "juiciness")

The general sense of acidity occurs and is assessed in both hot and cold temperatures. We first evaluate its intensity, give it a qualitative characteristic (wine, apple, lemon) and a description (smooth, tingly, shiny), and then evaluate how it affects the stability of the glass.

The amount of acid found in coffee fruit after ripening amazes experts from all over the world to this day. Depending on the terroir, the amount of these acids may be reduced or fully developed during the roasting process. Therefore, all samples are roasted according to generally accepted SCA standards. This allows you to save all the necessary acids, fry evenly, and at the same time develop the grain to the required temperature. Based on this, all lots presented in the table will be “equal” at the time of their evaluation.


Tasting does not end with the evaluation of coffee in terms of tactile sensations in the mouth. Yes, this is an important process, because during such an assessment the tongue glides slightly along the palate, taking in tactile sensations along the way. The oiliness, slickness of the feel allows you to evaluate the content of fats in coffee, and the density or viscosity - the content of dietary fiber and protein. Combined, these two sensations form what is called the coffee body. The body can be characterized in all three stages of cooling, and often this determines the qualitative component. After all, if at the beginning of your evaluation the body was described as dense, smooth or rounded, and this was not confirmed by cooling, then the coffee beans were not good enough to give it a high rating.


Balance is the taste elements that are harmoniously linked: sweetness and acidity. A well-balanced coffee does not have a distinct aroma element (i.e. a well-balanced cup can not only be sweet or sour, it should be enough to complement each other and also match the flavor set you feel during brewing).

Do not confuse balance with cup uniformity. Uniformity is the next parameter. It is only evaluated when five cups of the same freshly roasted coffee are coated (according to the SCA protocol). Uniformity can be attributed to a parameter such as the body, since if one of the containers is very different from the others in the sense of heaviness on the tongue, this batch cannot be given a high score for uniformity.

During the correct filling of the form, the sweetness and cleanliness of the cups (in terms of whether they are flawed or not) are also evaluated. Accordingly, if any of the cups is not sweet or has an obvious defect (phenol, iodine, enzyme, etc.) - too much coffee is penalized according to the defect detection system, depending on whether it is found in one or more of them. glasses and density detected defect. We can always punish this or that much coffee for good reason, but we should never do it in advance. After all, our feelings are in order from the beginning of the mug to the end, until the coffee finally cools. It's also important to take breaks between glasses and replenish your receptors with water.


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