What is Coffee Review and How Does it Work?

As a consumer, you may notice many of our coffees are labeled with an emblem that contains a numerical score:

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These emblems are produced by the folks at Coffee Review, pioneers of the 100-point rating scale for coffee created in 1997. For years, they were the only third-party review website for coffee.  Like Wine Spectator, Coffee Review gives consumers a neutral, third-party evaluation of a coffee, which they taste blind (without knowing whose or what coffee it is) and determine a score based on the coffee’s aroma, acidity, body, flavor, and aftertaste. Roasters submit coffees and a submission fee to acquire these ratings and have the option of disclosing their scores to the public.

You can read more about Coffee Review, their history, and how they score their coffee in their new article. Here’s the Cliff Notes:

  • Established in 1997
  • Over 1 million unique visitors a year
  • pioneered the 100-point coffee rating system
  • editor Kenneth Davids, a coffee vet with 40 years experience, writes all formal reviews
  • coffees are tasted blind using SCAA cupping protocols

Some coffees score better than other because:

  • due to care and efforts taken in the growth, harvest, processing, and shipping of green (unroasted) coffee, some green coffees are better quality than others
  • the development of green coffee in the roasting process (how well it’s roasted)
  • scores are based on global coffee assumptions, or things that coffee professionals generally agree are good qualities in coffee (acidity, body, sweetness, aftertaste, etc)
  • coffees that are distinctive or have a pleasurable uniqueness will typically score higher

They also layout their scoring scale with the following definitions:

  • 85/86 = An acceptable coffee, but nothing exceptional — the best high-end supermarket whole bean, for example
  • 87-88 = An interesting coffee but either 1) distinctive yet mildly flawed, or 2) solid but not exciting
  • 89-90 = A very good coffee, drinkable, with considerable distinction and interest
  • 91-92 = An exceptional, solid coffee with some excitement and distinction in aroma and flavor – or a super-exceptional coffee that still perhaps has some issue that some consumers may object to but others will love – a big, slightly imbalanced acidity, for example, or an overly lush fruit
  • 93-94 = Exceptional originality, beauty, individuality and distinction, with no negative issues whatsoever
  • 95-96 = Perfect in structure, flawless, and shockingly distinctive and beautiful
  • 97+ = Means: “We have not tasted a coffee of this style as splendid as this one for a long, long time”

How Temple Coffee uses Coffee Review

We have been submitting coffee to Coffee Review ever since we began roasting. We feel that a third-party opinion helps consumers in their decision to purchase quality coffee online, a sometimes daunting endeavor.  We do not submit all of our coffee offerings and we typically publish the results of all coffees we do submit. We feel that our unrated coffees are just as good as our rated ones, but it is not practical for us to submit every coffee we offer. We also advertise on Coffee Review as we feel it gives us exposure to a very specific group of people interested in quality coffee. Because coffees are scored blind, we feel that this does not effect our scores.

We hope this blog post clears up any questions you have about those shiny emblems on our coffees. If you have any additional questions, please contact us. Learn more about Coffee Review by visiting their website.

Browse our current coffee offerings here.