How are Coffee Beans Graded?

Coffee classification is used to provide a measure of the quality of a batch of coffee beans. However, the specific requirements for class names and classifications are different, including some companies that have their own classification criteria. For this reason, it is important to know what specific criteria coffee sources use for their classification. How are coffee beans evaluated? For most customers, the coffee available is generally decent, so the quality of the coffee you buy is not very important. How are coffee beans evaluated?

Sieving and sorting

The first step in the sorting process is sieving and sorting beans. Samples of unroasted coffee beans are sized by size using sieves or containers with holes of several layers of different sizes.
These holes allow beans of a certain size to pass through and hold other beans based on size. High quality beans have a more uniform size, which allows for more uniform roasting, the best coffee is up to 5 ° ov, and the main sieve size, which is determined by the weight of each sieve bean, is the maximum. It will be 5 ° lower. To classify the beans, samples are taken from the batch and carefully inspected for defects. Defects include large stones, clams, and unripe beans. High quality coffee has fewer defects than low quality coffee. Some metrics only evaluate coffee size, number of defects, and moisture content and stop there.

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After sorting and sieving, the beans are roasted and poured into a bowl. Roasting is done by slowly drying the coffee beans and heating them to a certain temperature to achieve the correct darkness.


cupping allows you to evaluate the taste and characteristics of coffee. The grader pays attention to the taste and aroma of coffee, as well as its richness, acidity and other characteristics. For a cup of coffee, grind a sample of beans and then pour hot water. After 34 minutes, the crust formed from the ground coffee and the foam at the top of the cup breaks and smells, allowing you to taste the aroma of coffee. Then use 2 tablespoons to remove the crust from the cup, leaving as much liquid as possible.
At this point, the taster takes the coffee out of the cup with a spoon and drinks it. When you drink coffee, it gets air and is sprayed on your tongue, making it easier to taste. After tasting, the coffee is either spit out into a cup or swallowed. This process is very similar to wine tasting, and the taste changes with temperature, so you can try it several times until the same cup cools. The Gourmet Coffee Association has specific criteria for how cupping should be done for grading.

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Final Rating

When the sorting is complete, the coffee will receive a final rating. These vary, but usually there is a specialty class or extra fine class at the top, with about 5 classes assigned.

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