The specialty coffee industry has experienced explosive, unprecedented growth in the 21st century. But despite this fact, there hasn’t been much in the way of concurrent innovation surrounding the process of cupping and scoring coffees. You taste a coffee, jot down notes on a cupping form, and then you come up with the score based on those notes and sensory experiences. It’s all very analog.

Enter The Coffee Rose by Cafe Imports. This brand-new digital cupping tool combines the familiarity of the coffee flavor wheel with an easy-to-use, dynamic interface allowing cuppers to quickly and easily categories flavor experiences. When finished, the Coffee Rose will then ascribe a score and a description to the coffee, allowing the tasters to focus solely on tasting.

First announced via a blog post on the Cafe Imports website, the Coffee Rose is more accurately described as an “interactive, dynamic rich content Check All That Applies (CATA)” cupping form. When using the digital tool, to input a flavor users will choose a category and work from less to more descriptive. The main categories are familiar to who have done this sort of coffee tasting before and include things like: fruit, herbal, sweetness, acidity, bitterness, saltiness, and sugar browning. From there, they work outwards form the center of the flavor wheel, for example from a general term like “fruit” towards more specific terms such as “jammy” or “dried”. This process continues one step further, amping up the specificity, before arriving at descriptors like “melon” or “stone fruit.”

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Cuppers will then assign an intensity rating to that particular note to help build a flavor hierarchy and cup score; a more intense flavor note will have a larger impact on the final score than a subtler one. Once all the flavors experienced in a particular cup have been added, a Cafe Imports-design scoring engine will then automatically tabulate and assign a score based on the input. This final part of the process, per the company, is done so as to remove the onus of scoring off the taster as well as helping to remove bias. The flavor decides the score.

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The Coffee Rose will also use a language builder to create a description of the cup based on the flavors, giving priority to the more intense taste experiences. The goal, per Cafe Imports, is an intuitive, low learning curve tool that removes much of the non-tasting parts of coffee tasting to allow cuppers to do what they love: cup coffees.

To help those interested in the Coffee Rose, Cafe Imports is hosting a Special Topics webinar on Microsoft Teams on Thursday, May 30th at 1:00pm CST with Ian Fretheim, who will give a live walkthrough of the new tool. Sign up for the digital event can be done here.

The Coffee Rose represents an exciting step forward in the world of coffee cupping. While there is something romantic about the analog pen and paper, all the extracurriculars—the math in particular—can be tedious. This new tool strikes the right technological balance, allowing the models and engines to handle the non-sensorial parts of cupping and freeing up tasters to focus on the experiential. It’s also a major step towards removing implicit biases in the cupping process, and democratizing the work of coffee cupping for everyone, no matter where you might be in the world.

For more information or to create an account to try it, visit the official Cafe Imports Coffee Rose page.

Zac Cadwalader is the managing editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.