Body Attributes – SCA Cupping Form

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Body Attributes - SCA Cupping Form - Helena Coffee Vietnam

Body Attributes – SCA Cupping Form​​​​​​​​​ – This article is part of a group of posts that explain the ten sensory attributes of the SCA Cupping Form (or SCA Arabica Cupping Form) based on knowledge from the book Sensory Science.

A person who is familiar with coffee tasting will not find any concept related to “body” in coffee flavor circles (this is logical, since “body” is not part of the taste). The WCR Sensory Lexicon also did not shed light on this concept, instead in “The Coffee Cupper’s Handbook” (fifth ed., 2011) Ted R. Lingle gave a definition for “body”:

” […] Body should be differentiated from strength, which is an intensity measure of the amount and type of soluble materi- al present. Strength gives coffee its taste characteristics, whereas body gives coffee its mouthfeel characteristics. It is possible to brew coffees that have a heavy body, but not a strong taste.” – Ted R. Lingle, 2011

The body should be distinguished from strength, which is a measure of the intensity of the amount and type of dissolved matter present in coffee. Strength gives coffee its flavor characteristics, while body gives coffee mouth-feel characteristics. It’s possible to make coffee with a strong body, but not a strong flavor.”

Body Attributes - SCA Cupping Form - Helena Coffee Vietnam
Body properties on Cupping form

Body in Ted R. Lingle’s definition refers to the method of measuring tactile sensations caused by nerve endings in the mouth reacting to insoluble substances – both liquid and solid, suspended in coffee, mainly from suspension solids and fats in coffee.

In this way, the “body” can be partially distinguished by separating “texture” from “heaviness”.

More specifically, part of the “body” is created by solids suspended in phase water. Suspended solids are compounds that for some reason are insoluble in water but can “swim” in coffee (e.g. polysaccharide molecules that form the cell wall layer of coffee beans).

Some other fluids are hydrophobic — that is, “can’t blend into water,” like oils and suspended fats that increase the feeling of smoothness or viscosity — the rest of the “body” attribute.

Body review in coffee cupping

Like other attributes (Fragrance/Aroma and AcidityBody is evaluated based on both strength and descriptive characteristics, this attribute consists of two different concepts: heaviness (mainly by dissolved solids) and texture (mainly by fats).

In particular, heaviness refers to the perceptible density or viscosity of coffee (simply speaking, the bold/lightness of coffee) and texture refers to the feeling of thickness or thinness (or full/loose roundness).

For example, a high-fat coffee with a small number of suspended solids may have a creamy texture with low weight.

However, experts encourage you to compare with specific foods to describe the body attributes of coffee such as creamybutteryoily, and tea-like but not to mention the taste of these foods but the correlation of their texture.

Sometimes, non-food terms such as thin or thick (thin/thick) or grit and smooth (velvety/sandy) can be useful when describing the texture of the body, etc.

  • Like Fragrance/Aroma and Acidity total potency (intensity) body attributes (in terms of heaviness) is recorded on the vertical scale as an objective assessment of intensity.
  • Next, the impression of the quality of the body is noted on a horizontal scale, from 6 to 10. Again, this is a subjective assessment, based on the cupper’s estimate of how the coffee body affects its value in the coffee market.

Body Attributes - SCA Cupping Form - Helena Coffee Vietnam
Illustration of how to evaluate body attributes on SCA’s Cupping form

NOTE: In cupping, when the coffee cools, the cupper usually repeats the evaluation of the properties: FlavorAftertasteAcidity and Body on two or three occasions. Since the taste of coffee when cooled create different experiences, the overall impression of attributes will be more accurate when evaluated through multiple attempts.



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