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TEA: Specialty Coffee Association Publishes First Edition of the Coffee Sensory and Cupping Handbook

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posted Sunday Sep 26, 2021 06:00 PM

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A new publication, the Coffee Sensory and Cupping Handbook, was published today by the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA). Co-authored by Dr. Mario R. Fernández-Alduenda and Peter Giuliano, this first edition of the text expands upon the seminal Coffee Cupper’s Handbook, written by Ted R. Lingle and published in 1986.

The handbook, over a year in the making, collates 30 years of scientific advancements in the field of sensory science—which seeks to understand human perceptions of smell, taste, and mouthfeel—and combines these with cupping practices developed by the SCA and new advances in flavor language exemplified by the recent revision of the Coffee Tasters' Flavor Wheel. It is the most complete and well-researched work on this topic to date, and is intended to provide an approachable and practical guide to the complexity of coffee and sensory science, to any and every coffee professional.

“It is no exaggeration to say the specialty coffee industry is founded on the concept of flavor,” note the authors in their introduction. “And since flavor is perceived by the senses of smell and taste, the concept of sensory evaluation, communication, and understanding is critical to the skill set of any coffee professional and is essential to any coffee business.”

Until the advent of the specialty coffee movement of the 1960s and 1970s, coffee sensory evaluation was rarely practised by anyone other than green coffee traders and roasters. The publication of The Coffee Cupper’s Handbook in 1986 brought fresh ideas to the field of sensory analysis, and laid a foundational understanding of coffee quality and attributes. Sensory analysis has gone hand-in-hand with coffee ever since, and has evolved alongside the industry. The Coffee Sensory and Cupping Handbook introduces new tools to help coffee professionals understand the complexity and value of their product, while providing valuable context to help readers understand their own coffee sensory experience.

“We hope this book will help bring some good sensory practices to the everyday work of coffee professionals, to reduce bias and error, and improve the conclusions we draw from our daily sensory work, without taking away the enjoyment of coffee flavor that drives our passion for the product. Conversely, we hope this book will help sensory scientists to view coffee as a unique product category with an exquisitely complex flavor and to understand the potential of working with the thousands of passionate and keen coffee tasters of our industry.”

An early release of the print edition will be available at the forthcoming Specialty Coffee Expo in New Orleans, September 30 – October 3, 2021. The print and digital editions will officially launch in the SCA Store (US and EU) late October.

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