Modified cupping protocol

What is the modified coffee cupping protocol?

The Specialty Coffee Association introduced the Modified cupping protocol in March 2020 in response to health concerns among the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim of the modified protocol is to minimize cross-contamination among participants in cases where coffee grading is essential.
The modified protocol was designed with cupping experts and institutions and is expected to evolve with feedback from health experts and other professionals from the coffee industry.

What are recommendations from the modified SCA cupping protocol?

  • Tasting batch brewed coffee is often a better alternative to cupping. Batch brews can be made available upon request for those who wish to avoid cupping.
  • Staff will provide each cupping participant a cupping spoon and an individual shot glass upon arrival. Note: The spoon should not touch your mouth or drinking cup.
  • Sample cups will be placed on cupping tables, and the crust cleared with a clean spoon by volunteer or lead.
  • Individuals will approach the cupping bowl with their spoon and spoon a sample from the bowl into their shot glass. Participants will then taste directly from their shot glass. The spoon will not be used for tasting, only to transfer the sample to individual cups. The spoon should not touch one's mouth or drinking cup.
  • Staff will provide hot water and dump buckets in between samples for rinsing coffee out of the shot glasses.
  • In between samples, spoons will be rinsed in a rinse cup. Remember, spoons should only be used for transferring coffee.
  • Backup spoons and cups will be made available for those who might need a replacement during the cupping.
  • Cupping table surfaces will be sanitized in between sessions.
  • For those who wish to avoid cuppings, batch brewers can be made available upon request.


SCA Covid-19 Updates & Resources: Modified SCA Cupping Protocol

Printable PDF of Modified SCA Cupping Protocol, published March 12, 2020 - Version 1.0

Specialty Coffee Expo: Cupping Exchange: MODIFIED SCA CUPPING PROTOCOL

Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters: The SCA Modified Cupping Protocol with Trish (published on Youtube 4.3.2020)

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