Sample Roast Identification Test

Time: 60 Minutes
Passing Score: 75 Points

In the Sample Roast Identification test, subjects must identify an ideal roast for coffee cupping.  The challenge is that you may only use the  sense of taste and smell in brewed coffee under red light.

Four of five possible roasts will be presented:

  • Correct. Coffee roasted within 8 – 12 minutes and reach an ideal external Agtron color of 58 +/- 1 and internal color of 63 +/- 1. This color will be light to medium light brown and little or no chaff will be attached. This sample should taste balanced and sweet without noticeable roast defects.
  • Under roasted. Coffee will be lighter than the correct color range both external and internal with chaff attached. This coffee will taste sour, green and underdeveloped.
  • Over roasted. Coffee will be darker than the correct color range, but have no visible oil on its surface. This coffee will taste darker: carbony, ashy and bitter.
  • Baked (long roast).  Coffee will appear to be the correct SCAA sample external color, but as the result of a long roast.  It appear dry and with too dark an internal color. Baked roasts tend to taste flat, herbal and woody with little acidity or sweetness.
  • Underdeveloped (short roast).  Coffee will appear to be the correct SCAA sample external color, but will be significantly underdeveloped inside. Short roasts have an unbalanced soury, bitter and vegetal flavor. This results from the lack of caramelized sugars and browning in the coffee bean interior.

In the exam, participants taste each coffee under red light.  Only the liquid will be present, as the instructor will skim samples before beginning. Use only your senses of taste and smell to evaluate the brewed liquid and identify its roast type.  A practice tasting session will precede the exam – be sure to take notes and remember your experience with each.

Note that scores include the description of why you make each selection, so explaining your experience is important.