Cupper's grading system is deeply rooted with the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) / Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) technical cupping protocols and specialty coffee certification standards.

The Cupper Grading System assesses a wide variety of objective characteristics related to the coffee offerings (espressos, lattes, pour overs, and cold brews) of each cafe, including:

  • Aroma

  • Flavor

  • Acidity

  • Aftertaste

  • Body

  • Balance

  • Sweetness

  • Complexity

  • Clean Cup (transparency and clarity of no defects or over fermentation present in the flavor profile)

  • Cup Material

After taking all of these factors into account, the coffee drink is assigned a grade on a scale from 1 to 10, with “10” being the highest quality coffee drink and “1” being the lowest quality coffee drink.

The Cupper Grading system also takes into account a host of factors that could impact the coffee experience, such as: 

  • Coffee machine brand name and age

  • Water quality

  • Milk type (whole, 2%, 1%)

  • Roasted coffee bean shelf life

  • Roasting process

  • Coffee temperature

  • Cafe temperature

  • Barista experience level

  • Cup Material Type (ceramic, glass, paper, plastic)

  • Any green coffee processing defects evident in the final product