Cream of the crops

My friend Christoffer Levak, who was my first contact with coffee in Sweden before I moved back, contacted me regarding an idea he had been working on for a very long time. Christoffer, who’s been working with more upscale market coffees for a while, has a dedication and devotion to Speciality Coffee, and thus wanted to create a platform where Commodity coffee and Speciality could be judged side by side, and clearly show that Speciality has the upper hand among tasters. The idea was something called “Kaffetoppen” (The Top of the Coffees”), where all coffees on the Swedish market would be judged by professional tasters, and scored on a webpage.

The format is rather simple; all coffees are judged blindly, cupped according a score sheet that borrows heavily from the Cup of Excellence and SCAA Q-grader sheets. All coffees will be judged three times before landing on the webpage with a final score, taking off any excess points in either direction and creating an average score. The sheet is not only about coffee quality, but on consumer experience: what does coffee taste like in the cup for someone who just “drinks coffee”? The result is inevitably showing, when you place really dark roasted coffee next to well roasted Speciality coffee with complexity for instance. To make sure it is not too biased, the group is based on tasters rather than coffee minded people. There are chefs and sommeliers together with roasters and baristi, but also just regular people interested in taste.

I see two benefits with this site and group. The first is offering the consumer a “professionals point of view” what good coffee is, as is common with for instance wine and beer in most media today. The second is that the non coffee professionals within the group recieves another level of understanding of a produce that has been treated as a generic product for many years within the restaurants. I’d say, within the group we’re reaching there immediately!

What especially like is the independance of the webpage, not tied to any specific roaster or other agenda than to let the consumer know about tasting experience in the cup. However, hoping to draw sponsorship from for instance web based shops who can use the results in their marketing, and also hoping that roasters see the benefit of participating actively by sending their coffees, rather than us buying whatever is on shelf where we can find it. So far, the support of this project among roasters has been very positive, and I hope this will help spread the format among consumers! Check it out on this webpage, next cupping launching its first final results!

NP: Hellacopters Toys And Flavors

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