Coffee Cup Quality

World Coffee Research is the industry research and development program to increase the supplies of quality coffee and the QUALITY of those supplies. Coffee Cup Quality is a cross-cutting priority that runs through all WCR research projects in order to increase our understanding and the improvement of this major market driver. To date, very little research has been conducted to understand and therefore improve coffee cup quality. WCR believes that increasing the number and combinations of the taste attributes involved in overall cup quality is needed to increase taste profile offerings to consumers and thus drive the growth of fine coffees at the top end of the market. This segment of the industry has an important “pull-up” effect, raising the quality bar and thus growing the market for the entire industry. Coffee cup quality must be better understood so that technologies and methods to improve quality can be determined and made available to key value chain players who profit from these advances.

World Coffee Research agenda and its applicability to improving Coffee Cup Quality

Front and center on the WCR coffee quality research agenda is the development of an accurate, repeatable, and highly discriminatory sensory analysis method for measuring coffee cup quality that can stand the rigors needed in scientific research. Without a precise and efficient way of measuring coffee cup quality, WCR will be limited by the variability and unreliability associated with current sensory methods that were designed for coffee trading. Most WCR research projects generate high numbers of coffee samples that require a sensory evaluation tool that allows us to discriminate among important, market-related quality attributes in a cost effective manner.

The WCR Sensory Project will benchmark existing evaluation methods and develop a common reliable system. This research will focus on the development of a new ‘hybrid common’ approach that will improve the current sensory evaluation by using descriptive analyses, an industry sensory expert panel, an anchor sensory lab, robust statistical designs and integrated laboratory methods. Further work will allow us to define and correlate sensory attributes to key marker compounds defining coffee quality.

WCR research to better understand and improve cup quality is integrated in all WCR research projects as illustrated below in our priority programs:

  • International Multi-location Variety Trials: Quality evaluation is a key variable that will be measured and studied in all WCR variety trials. The compilation of quality data on different varieties across hundreds of diverse environments over years will provide scientists with the first statistically controlled data set from which in-depth investigations on the effects of climate change and other environmental variables will be performed to develop better mitigation strategies.
  • Coffee germplasm screening, cataloging and preservation for the development of new varieties: WCR will place significant resources into the evaluating cup quality taste attributes in current germplasm collections and in new collections coming from wild arabica land races. Taste attributes will be cataloged for each of the entries thus permitting coffee researchers to utilize the material in variety development programs and to study the relation between taste, volatile compounds, precursor molecules and environmental factors. A special emphasis will be put on the discovery of new taste attributes to expand taste profile differentiation possibilities.
  • Development of new breeding populations: WCR will work with several coffee breeding research institutions in origin countries to develop new breeding populations from which new, more adaptable, higher quality, greater pest resistant and heat tolerant varieties can be bred. This ‘second generation’ of genetic material will include a maximum level of genetic diversity from wild, cultivated and curated germplasm sources. As a result, the potential to produce ‘super varieties’ tailored for different coffee producing environments and be capable of high yields, superior quality and resistances to the major pest threats is revolutionary. Key to this project is WCR breeding teams’ ability to include a wide range of quality characteristics in the new populations and then to be able to screen for quality in the early generations of variety development.
  • The Accelerated Productivity Enhancement Program (APE): Even within the WCR farmer-level technology conduit, cup quality will be evaluated and that evaluation will be shared with the farmers participating in the trials. On one hand, these quality evaluations will provide researchers with thousands of statistically controlled quality evaluations from which the effects of environment and especially climate change can be determined. On the other hand, the quality evaluations shared with the farmer will assist the producer understand better his or her role in defining coffee quality and thus achieving higher prices for their harvest.



6 Responses to Coffee Cup Quality

  1. Mané Alves says:

    How can we help with the WCR Sensory Project? We have a well calibrated team of Sensory Cuppers and would like to be involved if possible.
    This would be volunteer work, if the time commitments are reasonable.

  2. As q Grader certified By CQI from SCAA at Colombia Country where i live , is very necessary to implent concient about suistanable coffee and produce with Responsability, however a lot of solutions are there by the way the actually change climate and coffee responsability for alls the peoples whcih are working every day to this important Coffee Chain maintenance the style of life forthe coffee growers be necessary to implement new routes and new challenge , for this sitaution which is Broking to the Colombian Coffee growers for yr low prices in the international market take a decossions to structure and build a new coffee chategories to impement a new specialmarkek with very secure to find the goal and the sollutions to increment the style of life from each coffee growers , here at Colombia we have a lot of Multinationals Experts in International Biz about Coffee and if they can help actuallyu to this Coffee chain to the coffee growers Not forget yr life yr reason of be yr future and yr past for this reason the new models woul be design for economyst, special represent of coffee chain as OIC and FNC Coffee Growers federation and the Coffee Exports, according to my experience all Multinationals waiting for the low price to can sell the future coffee and can they increase yr sells yr buy , however its very very bad to local coffee growers actaully colombian coffee productions is around 6.500.000 bags of green coffee with these prices of NY C MARKET the LOCALPRICE for 125 Kgs of Parchmente beans is around 590.000 col PESOS and the coffee growers to produce this Carga of 125 Kgrs cost is around 600.000 col pesos if they can surviver to this market if there the Ny c Market each day low to low.. pls help to this important Chain, Brasil actual production may be around 55´000.00 milions of bags if there be it possible than Colombia, The solution isn´t not to cultivate another Coffee Family as Robusta isn´t not the solution the solution may be low the fertilzers, low the prices to make practices to renovation, helps to increase the coffee area to increase or maximoize the production which be suistanable may be the gran solution , the Colombian Coffee quality is nice form some regions however the cualtiavte for the another varieties may arrive to obtain many another plages as Roya Pls helps us the most important Coffee from the world Colombian Coffee ,, thanks ENG JC Soto

  3. Kondalkana Jayarama Balyaya says:

    I wish to full involvement so far as Coffee Cup Quality

    Coffee Quality Specialist/Cup Taster in Green Coffee, Roast & Ground and even Soluble/Instant Coffee since September 1983 at Quality Control Division of the Coffee Board of India
    Formerly National Overseas Research Scholar in the field of Coffee Science & Technology under the auspicious guidance Emeritus Professor of Food Safety MIKE CLIFFORD of University of Surrey (i.e for MPhil.Ph.D i.e 1993-1998) and formerly Chief Coffee Taster Quality Controller, R&D and BRAND DEVELOPMENT of M/s Asian Coffee Ltd( now taken over by Tata Coffee Ltd) of 100% pure soluble Coffee Manufacturer and 100 % Export oriented Unit(1989-1992

  4. Niels van Heeren says:

    Quality improvement starts on the farm through soil improvement and broader nutrition. We use a combination of high quality carbon, 30+ beneficial micro-organisms, 70+ micro-elements and some additional nutrients. We can reduce NPK input as the soil-improvement and mainly the beneficial microbes make nutrients quicker and broader available and stimulate root development. So, with similar costs we see the quality of the bean improves as the density increases due to a broader range of amino acids/proteins and minerals. This therefor improves the cup quality with more complex notes and fuller body/acidity. Several of the coffee farmers we have worked with have achieved prices with local competition in Colombia and scores above 84 SCAA. Looking forward to work with more experts in this field and create this combination of productivity & quality improvement in a more sustainable way.

  5. Skills and knowledge of the coffee taste attributes is a prerequisite for enhancement of any quality improvement program.we should also build interest in the factors which affect the taste attributes of coffee especially Robusta.Research on the effect of Agronomic and post harvest handling practices on the taste attributes of Robusta coffee especially in the producing countries should take root.

    • Jennifer Rumford says:

      At this time, the work of World Coffee Research is focused on Arabica coffee. We are considering Robusta for inclusion in our next 5 year phase, starting in 2016.

      So please keep an eye on our site.

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