Trish Rothgelb: Q/SCAA Cupping form and Calibration nrf2013


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Trish Rothgeb’s main points are to communicate how the Q/SCAA cupping form asks the cupper to be detailed and honest about each category and to emphasize that specialty coffee uses a common language that bridges the producing and consuming worlds.

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  • Currently, one of the biggest problems we see, and what the Q System is addressing, is lost opportunities as a result of producers not knowing the quality of their coffee, millers and exporters over-blending and further commodifying coffee, and the importers and roasters having to work extra hard, inefficiently so, to find the quality, differentiated coffees they want and are willing to pay premiums for. The reality is that the system is not set up to serve the needs of the higher value specialty markets.
  • We’re implementing the Q Grading System to make trade more efficient, creating a common language for quality and defining standards that are internationally recognized. The Q Grading System identifies those coffees which are best suited for higher value specialty markets and using existing trading practices, matches quality producers with quality buyers. One of the primary goals of the Q Program is to ensure a sustainable supply of quality coffee for the industry and that everyone along the value chain has an opportunity to prosper.
    The biggest advantage the Q Grading System provides is the ability to identify quality coffees and to make that quality known throughout the value chain. By better differentiating coffees at the producer level, everyone along the value chain has an opportunity to realize increased value. This is where one of the main values of cupper training lies…by having skilled cuppers on staff, a producer has a better chance of identifying these coffees.
  • At each link in the chain, there is an opportunity to use quality as a tool to achieve greater value:
    By training cuppers at the farm and mill level, quality coffees can be identified before they’re blended. Instead of earning flat rates for cherries, a producer will have the knowledge to know which coffees should be tendered to the C-market and which coffees may be held back for Q Grading.
    Q Grading System: Through the Q Grading System, the quality of those coffees believed to be of higher quality can be validated. Regardless of the quality, a technical report is issued so the farmer will receive feedback that can be used for future quality improvements. The seller then has a tangible measure of quality with which to identify the most appropriate markets and buyers. This allows the seller to maximize the selling price.
    Q Coffee Certification -- Those coffees that meet the minimum requirements of a Q Coffee receive a certificate that can travel with the coffee as it is sold through the channel, verifying the quality for subsequent buyers and allowing end-users to know where the coffee originated This allows the seller to also maximize his sale price, better identify customer targets, and offer a differentiated set of coffees. Additional point: The Coffee Quality Institute is the only organization in the world doing the work to measure quality. This third-party evaluation of quality lends credibility quality claims. Q Certified is essentially = to SCAA certified and that is a powerful statement to make to potential customers…you are not only telling them you have good quality coffee, your are providing tangible evidence of your commitment to quality.
    Market Linkages -- Because the Q is an internationally recognized and respected standard, there is growing demand from buyers for Q Coffees. CQI has created systems to promote Q Coffee and aid communication between sellers and buyers. Although CQI does not sell coffee, it’s active promotion of the Q naturally fosters demand.
    The Q Licensing Program allows importers to extend the use of the Q Logo to roasters and retailers and makes quality a more visible and tangible benefit for the end consumer.
  • You can refer back to the first slide (#2) showing that we are building the infrastructure
  • .
  • Ask participants the question. Encourage them to answer.
    After two or three of them answer, click to reveal the bullet points.
  • Ask participants what they think it means to “calibrate” to the form.
    BRIEF explanation of the term calibrate.
  • Ask participants the question. Ask them what is calibration.
    Explain calibration and how it works. (not entirely intuitive for relatively inexperienced cuppers)
    After two or three of them answer, click to reveal the bullet points
  • This form did not adequately describe the complexity of Specialty coffee.
    In the case of acidity and body, for example, quality and intensity were confused.
    No place for defect or sweetness.
  • Looks daunting, but easy to get used to if we pull it apart.
    (Ask students use the forms in front of them to walk through each part with you.)
    Notice that scores should be recorded in quarter points only. If that’s not enough of a sliding scale for you, you’re over-thinking it.
    Below 6 might mean a defect. Hold questions about defect until you get to that slide.
  • Fragrance and aroma are noted as high and low in terms of immediate impression. These vertical scales do not ask for a number score.
    Put these thoughts together to achieve a score on the horizontal, and record in the box. = final score in this category.
  • If a coffee shows inconsistent cups, it might not necessarily lack sweetness.
    If a cup is not clean, it must also fail in uniformity. Take care that a coffee is not punished twice.
  • Perfect objective is 10 pts for clean, uniform and sweet
  • While this should go without saying it cannot go without saying!
    Important points:
    Do not prolong the fragrance evaluation; it is short lived!
    The break is shared between table mates, which makes protocol that much more important…
    Cleaning cups means one pass and no extra agitation.
    Rinse spoon EVERY TIME after touching cups and touching lips!
    Silent work until calibration discussion.
  • While this should go without saying it cannot go without saying!
    Important points:
    Do not prolong the fragrance evaluation; it is short lived!
    The break is shared between table mates, which makes protocol that much more important…
    Cleaning cups means one pass and no extra agitation.
    Rinse spoon EVERY TIME after touching cups and touching lips!
    Silent work until calibration discussion.
  • Protocols: Wet and beak in order from cup one to cup 5
    Defects must be attributed to the numbered cup!
  • Remember to use descriptive words
    Number scores should agree with the describing words…lots of good attributes = higher numbers…..lots of bad attributes= lower scores
    Be prepared to support your scores in discussion during the calibration. Be prepared to hear the notes from your fellow cuppers.
    Be prepared to adjust your scoring scale after calibrating with the group. Are you too high with numbers, or too low?
    How would you characterize this table/category/region of coffee (Centrals, Indo, African, Natural)???
  • Trish Rothgelb: Q/SCAA Cupping form and Calibration nrf2013

    1. 1. SCAA Cupping Form and Calibration
    2. 2. Q Grading Program The Solution For a More Sustainable Future
    3. 3. Program Overview The Q Grading System is an internationally recognized protocol for evaluating coffee quality.
    4. 4. Vision of the Q System Producers Millers Blending  Value Exporters Roasters & Retailers Consumers Importers $ $ $ Lack of Differentiation reduces earning opportunities for producers Procurement is less efficient Overview of Current System
    5. 5. Vision of the Q System Producers Roasters & Retailers Millers C C C C C Improved Differentiation Exporters Importers Q Q C C Q Q Q Improved Quality C C C Q Q Consumers Q Increased Traceability Increased Transparency Improved Value
    6. 6. Vision of the Q System Producers Roasters & Retailers Millers C Consumers C Exporters C C C Importers C C Q Q Cupper Training Q C C Q Q Q Q C Q Grading System Q Certification Market Linkages Components of the Q Program Q Licensing
    7. 7. Current Activities • There are more than 2000 Licensed Q Graders worldwide • Q Grading Services are currently offered in Central America, Asia, Africa, Colombia and in the U.S. • Q Robusta program • Q instructors teaching in their own language and countries • New updated exams for Arabica – V. 4.0
    8. 8. Class Objectives • Explain the categories analyzed by the SCAA cupping form • Score coffees accurately using the SCAA form. • Demonstrate SCAA protocols and use of SCAA Cupping form to calibrate with others. • Show scoring of uniform, clean, and sweet as it relates to the objective for specialty grade coffees. • Identify taint and/or fault defects in the cup.
    9. 9. Program Agenda . 1. SCAA cupping form tutorial 2. Cup reference coffee and calibrate 3. Cup a table of three coffees and calibrate – scores and notes
    10. 10. Why score with the SCAA form? • Specialty coffee’s prices are often a result of scores. • To create a common language for Specialty grade coffee. • To fully explore what a coffee has to offer. • To better understand reports generated from this form: (Technical reports, Q certified lots, ECX, COTY)
    11. 11. What is “Calibration”?
    12. 12. Why Calibrate? • To help debunk the notion that the quality of coffee is purely subjective! • To gain a better understanding between cultures – coffee is global! • To help mitigate rejections. • To support price points.
    13. 13. Specialty coffee… • demands more notes space. • origins demand more room to be different from each other. • asks that we elaborate on acidity, body, sweetness. • Specialty coffee needs to be punished for defects. y’s str ndu rms e i fo Th rst quite fi n’t job. did he o t d
    14. 14. SCAA Cupping Form
    15. 15. The point scale – upper right corner • Specialty begins at good, or 6 points • Most of what we are used to in the specialty trade will score between 7 and 8.5. • Watch out for “safe” scoring! • Please just use quarter points.
    16. 16. We read left to right… 1. Sample ID. 2. Roast color- no value given. Mark the roast color (middle) 3. Fragrance = dry smell 4. Aroma = “crust” wet smell 5. Vertical scale is always intuitive or intensity and horizontal is always your quality score. 6. Quality notes for discernible characteristics. 7. Notes run along the bottom for categorized notes. T AN’ C OU BACK Y OME grance C “Fra a”! TO Arom &
    17. 17. As we begin to slurp…. • Taste hot, warm, and tepid. • Horizontal scale: Quality score if and/or when it changes with temperature • Vertical scales: Immediate impressions or intensity Final score in the upper right box.
    18. 18. “The Objective” and Balance • Each cup is worth 2 points. • Perfect objective = 30pts • Balance is a value judgment - the harmonious combination of all flavor and texture nuances.
    19. 19. LET’S PRACTICE! 7.5 8.5 8 7.25 8 X 8 X 7.5 X 8 7.75
    20. 20. Overall, Deductions, and Final Score 7 2 79.5 2 4 75.5
    21. 21. Tips for quick tabulation: Scores + perfect objective Final total All 7 + 30 79 All 8 + 30 86 All 9 + 30 93
    22. 22. Protocol Review 1. From 0-15 minutes after grinding, fragrance (the smell of the dry grounds) can be evaluated. 2. 3-4 minutes after the water is poured, the aroma is evaluated by breaking the crust with a spoon. 3. Break the crust with three (and only 3) distinct rotating motions.
    23. 23. Practice Three Samples Let’s Hit the Cups!
    24. 24. Sample Mat
    25. 25. Calibration Cupping • Cup 3 different coffees • Evaluate using SCAA Cupping Form • Calibration Discussion