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Meet the SCA Coffee Value Assessment (CVA)

Updated: May 24

SCA Đánh giá Giá trị Cà Phê (CVA)
SCA Coffee Value Assessment (CVA)

After three years of research and development, the SCA is evolving the tool the global industry uses to discover value in coffee. The Coffee Value Assessment offers a complete, “high-resolution” picture of a specific coffee across four assessment types, completed separately to avoid bias—and is now available to “beta test” as a part of an early-adopter program, having launched at the SCA’s Specialty Coffee Expo in Portland, OR in April, 2023.


The SCA Coffee Value Assessment (CVA) Course - Coffee Value Assessment, this expert-level course, provided by the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA), is meticulously designed for coffee industry professionals, including traders, buyers, and quality assurance managers. The course offers an in-depth look at the factors that determine the value of coffee in the professional market. This is the Sensory class, learning to evaluate coffee according to the CVA form. Participants will learn how to assess quality through sensory analysis, understand market trends, and apply pricing strategies based on comprehensive data and quality indicators.

Forms & Tools:  Alpha Forms & Beta Forms

The Importance of SCA Coffee Value Assessment

The SCA Coffee Value Assessment tool allows coffee experts to inventory the valuable attributes of a coffee according to the SCA’s definition of specialty coffee. These attributes include physical, sensory, and informational properties. Driven by the SCA’s sustainability agenda, which emphasizes equitable value distribution throughout the supply chain, this system aims to become a powerful tool to help measure and promote value assessment and distribution.

Tầm Quan Trọng Của Đánh Giá Giá Trị Cà Phê
The Importance of Coffee Value Assessment

Frequently asked questions

What does the Coffee Value Assessment do?

It allows coffee experts to inventory the valuable attributes of a coffee, according to the SCA’s definition of specialty coffee. These include physical, sensory, and informational attributes.

Does the Coffee Value Assessment determine the price of a coffee?

No. Only market actors can determine the price of a given coffee. The system seeks to create a profile of all of the valuable attributes of a coffee, so the total value of a coffee can be determined.


Is this the same as cupping?

Cupping, the standardized method of sensory evaluation in coffee, is used to determine the sensory attributes of a coffee using two tests: a descriptive assessment and an affective assessment. Cupping is an element of the system, along with a physical and extrinsic assessment of the coffee.


Why is cupping divided into descriptive and affective categories?

It has long been known that the description of flavors in a coffee is a different matter than an assessment of liking or quality. In the previous SCA cupping system these concepts were mixed together. The Coffee Value Assessment separates descriptive assessment, the objective description of a coffee’s flavor profile, from affective assessment, the subjective impression of a coffee’s quality. This separation is considered best practice in sensory and consumer science.


What is the descriptive assessment?

The descriptive assessment evaluates and records a coffee’s flavor and aroma attributes. This is based on a standardized technique called “sensory descriptive analysis.” The result is a profile of the coffee’s sensory attributes. The description is neutral: it is a description only, without negative or positive implications.


What is the affective assessment?

The affective assessment allows the cupper to note their “impression of quality” of the coffee. This is defined as their personal opinion of a coffee’s quality, or their understanding of the quality of a coffee in a market segment known to them. This assessment results in an Impression of Quality score, based on an 100-point scale.


What is the physical assessment?

The physical assessment is an evaluation of the green, unroasted coffee, which evaluates moisture content, physical appearance, and the presence of any damage to the coffee. The output of the physical assessment can be applied to a number of grading systems.


What is the extrinsic assessment?

We know that extrinsic attributes, those pieces of information that accompany a coffee such as identity, certification, place of origin, etc., add significant value to a coffee. Those pieces of information can be noted in the extrinsic attributes section. This section is in development, and we anticipate a revised version in late 2023.


Can the assessments be used separately?

Yes. We know that certain assessments will be more useful under certain circumstances than others. We anticipate that the four assessments may be used separately or together, depending on the need of the user.


How will this affect coffee producers?

In our surveys of current users, we learned that the current SCA system seemed to reduce a coffee’s value to a single score. This system seeks to provide all market actors—including producers—with a more holistic and transparent assessment of a coffee, allowing them to find the best possible markets for their products.

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