The SCA protocol was created in 1982. A score for coffee is a set of points for each parameter based on your own objective feelings. You evaluate the potential of the grain, so all prejudices about roasting and the freshness of coffee should be pushed to the background. Protocol score is one of the fundamental processes in the life of every Specialty Coffee specialist. The main purpose of this protocol is to separate special and commercial (ordinary) coffee. The maximum possible score under this protocol is 100 points.
The procedure of cupping is standardized, and it does not matter if you are in your hometown or you got to cupping at an international coffee show. The process will be carried out according to uniform standards.
It can involve one or more varieties of coffee in order to compare them with each other. Usually, tasting of one variety occurs more often at roasters. This is done mainly to identify the relationship between the taste and aroma of coffee with the selected roasting profile and find the optimal roaster (roaster) settings for a particular type of coffee.
SCI Protocol Updated Version
If you want to avoid infection during cupping, the best alternative is to taste portioned coffee in most cases. In cases where the evaluation of coffee according to the protocol is required, it is necessary to apply an updated version of the protocol.
It recommends to:
- Provide each tasting participant with a spoon and an individual cup. Watch the individual spoon doesn’t touch your mouth or the cup from which you will taste coffee.
- The coffee grounds should be removed with a clean spoon.
- Scoop the coffee from the tasting cup with your individual spoon and pour the liquid into your cup. Taste the drink directly from your cup.
- Don’t use your spoon for tasting! Remember that the spoon should not touch your mouth or glass.
- After each sample, rinse the spoons in a special glass. Remember, spoons should only be used to transfuse coffee.
- It is necessary to provide spare spoons and glasses for tasting participants who want to change them during capping.
Professional tasters may find it difficult to adopt this protocol, so SCA recommends hiring additional staff or volunteers to monitor the safety of the tasting.