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

Randall Arce Alvarado (Centro Internacional en Política Económica (CINPE), Universidad Nacional, Heredia, Costa Rica)
Anita R. Linnemann (Product Design and Quality Management Group, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Publication date: 7 September 2010



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.


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.


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.


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.



Arce Alvarado, R. and Linnemann, A. (2010), "The predictive value of a small consumer panel for coffee‐cupper judgment", British Food Journal, Vol. 112 No. 9, pp. 1023-1032.

Download as .RIS



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.