A group founded by coffee professionals to regulate and
discuss the quality standards involving the specialty coffee trade. The SCAA sets standards for specialty coffee and holds events such as the World Barista Championship and SCAA Exposition.
Many cafés have started to differentiate their Americanos as either single origin or blended. A single origin uses beans from one farm, while blended uses beans from several farms.
Often referred to as the Oscar of the coffee world, the Cup of Excellence (COE) is a competition that began in Brazil in 1999 to revitalize the economies and to encourage the production of high-quality beans. The competition reaches out directly to coffee plantations without a middleman. Beans are smelled, tasted and judged under the highest level of scrutiny and cups are cupped five to six times. Only after all these tests and being given a score of over 85 points will a coffee be considered COE.
A coffee taster. To be a professorial cupper, or Q-Grader, you must get a license from the SCAA. A cupper must check the quality of the raw coffee beans and be able to identify the hundreds of different tastes coffee can have.
Q&A: A professional’s take on coffee
The most important factor is the scent. The scent has to be good. If a coffee loses its scent, all that’s left is
bitterness and a bit of a sour taste. It’s the same as a flat coke. Just like you need the carbon to know you’re
drinking soda, you need the coffee scent to realize its taste. —Kim Sa-hong
Balance and texture. The variety of flavors have to come together to form a harmonious one. Also, I think that after drinking it, the coffee should leave a clean and fresh feeling, not a stale one. —Yang Jin-ho (El Café CEO)
It’s like meat. You can choose to either grill or microwave or boil meat. It’s a matter of choosing how to make it, not whether one way is better than the other. The choice is purely based on personal choices. —Kim Sa-hong
There definitely is a difference in taste. Drip coffee is brewed with water and then filtered, making it hotter with a cleaner taste. The aroma is also stronger. But because espressos are made with the pump under high pressure in a short amount of time, the solubility and fatsolubility come out together with a mixture of water and oil. The result is a heavier taste and more intense smell. But if you dilute the espresso with water, you can get a different texture than drip coffee. There are just two different brewing methods and it’s important to keep in mind it’s hard to say one is better. —Kim Sa-hong