The predictive value of a small consumer panel for coffee-cupper judgment

R.M. Arce Alvarado, A.R. Linnemann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to analyze whether consumers can discriminate coffees in the same way as a professional coffee judge, a cupper, to assess the relevance of cuppers' evaluations for taste differences perceived by consumers. Design/methodology/approach – In total, 23 samples sold in international stores as Tarrazú coffee were bought. A cupper evaluated these samples using the international cupping procedures for the quality attributes aroma, fragrance, body and acidity. Of the 23 samples, five were used in a triangle test carried out by a panel of 12 non-expert consumers to determine if their discriminations matched the expert's judgment. Findings – Results from the cupper gave a high variability of the coffees evaluated. The results of the consumer panel demonstrated that discrimination between coffees by consumers was predicted by acidity differences assessed by the cupper. The same held for body but not necessarily for fragrance and aroma. Originality/value – The paper revealed that discrimination between the coffees by the consumer panel matched the coffee cupper's evaluation differences. The high consistency of the results obtained from the consumer panel underpins that the respondents did not have much difficulty in rating the coffees with the same scores as the professional coffee judge. Thus, differences in coffee quality, notably with respect to acidity, are important to consider in coffee production and marketing as consumers can perceive them and thus use this information when deciding whether or not to buy the product again
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1023-1032
JournalBritish Food Journal
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • wine
  • quality
  • tasters
  • expert

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