The Mano a Mano Cupping Form

At Mano a Mano, each and every step of our process is about one thing: how can we make our coffee taste better. From the way that we store our green beans, to how we package our coffee, and, of course, the precise methods by which we conduct our Quality Control (QC). When it comes to this process of tasting our coffee for quality and consistency, we assess each and every batch that comes out of our roaster. This approach to QC is nothing new, and we are not the only roastery to adopt this practice, but like all things at Mano a Mano, we like to do things a little differently.

When it comes to tasting our roasted coffees for QC, the method we use to brew the coffee is standardized across the industry: amount of coffee used, grind size, degree of roast, water temperature, and brew time have all been codified by the SCAA (Specialty Coffee Association of America). Most specialty coffee roasters will adhere to these guidelines, but when it comes to note taking, or recording characteristics and "cup scores" for QC, there are in fact many different, varied approaches. The most popular "cupping sheets" are published by the SCAA and COE (Cup of Excellence) program, and these documents have become quite crucial for communicating cup quality and coffee scores to other roasters around the world, since they provide the basics of a kind of professional universal language for QC testing in the industry.

However, in the roastery environment, these cupping forms can become cumbersome, as they are often too focused on the raw green aspect(s) of coffee to be useful when assessing final roast profiles. Since each of the coffees that enter our roastery have already undergone strict assessment and passed rigorous QC guidelines, by the time we perform our weekly assessments of the roasted coffee, we are turn our focus solely to the quality of the roasting. With this in mind, we set out to find the best way to conduct our internal QC, because we want to critically assess our own roasting process in the most efficient way possible, and ensure every single roast we do is cupped consistently to the best of our abilities.

To this end, we created the Mano a Mano cupping form (pictured below), and we have decided to make it available for everyone and anyone to use. We have grown as a roastery since we first created this form, and now we do all of our QC digitally. but this document remains crucial to us as roasters, and is an incredibly useful tool for refining your pallet no matter your level of experience. We’ve heard of this form being used not only by roasters, but by our cafes and their baristas when they “dial in” each morning, and even by our keenest customers who love to brew our coffee on their own at home.

By sharing our cupping form, we hope to make QC a little easier for coffee roasters, makers, and drinkers. We know how hard it can be to decipher the language of coffee tasting, and if this form works to simplify the process a little for you, then we’re happy to have helped. Feel free to download the Mano a Mano cupping form for yourself, print up copies, use it and share it around, but we’d appreciate it you keep our name on the bottom.

Yours truly,

Seb Huigens,
Mano a Mano Coffee.

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