Coffee Sample Roast Identification Test

coffee sample roast identification

Time: 60 Minutes

Passing Score: 75 Points

In the roasted coffee ID test of the Q Grader course, students must identify the optimal roast for coffee cupping. This exam is among the most complex of the course since you are limited to using only the senses of taste and smell. Instructors conduct this cupping exam under a red light.

Four of five possible roasts will be presented:

  • Correct. Coffee roasted within 8 – 12 minutes with an ideal external Agtron color of 58 +/- 1 and internal color of 63 +/- 1. This color will be light to medium light brown, and little or no chaff will be attached. This sample should taste balanced and sweet without noticeable roast defects.
  • Under roasted. Coffee will be lighter than the correct color range, both external and internal, with chaff attached. This coffee will taste sour, green, and underdeveloped.
  • Over roasted. Coffee will be darker than the correct color range but have no visible oil on its surface. This coffee will taste darker: carbon, ashy, and bitter.
  • Baked (long roast). Coffee will appear to be the correct SCA sample external color due to a long roast. It seems dry and with too dark an internal color. Baked roasts taste flat, herbal, and woody with minimal acidity or sweetness.
  • Underdeveloped (short roast). Coffee will appear to be the correct SCA sample external color but will be significantly underdeveloped inside. Quick roasts have an unbalanced soury and a bitter and vegetal flavor. This results from the coffee bean interior’s lack of caramelized sugars and browning.

Only the liquid will be present, as the instructor will skim samples before beginning. Use only your senses of taste and smell to evaluate the brewed liquid and identify its roast type. A practice tasting session will precede the exam – take notes and remember your experience with each.

Note that students must explain why you’ve made your selection, so no guessing!

To learn more about roasting defects and how to pass this exam, check out the online Q Grader prep course from Boot Coffee.