Cupping within 24hrs of a roast vs letting a roast sit for a few days for the best flavor

I regularly cup my roasts as recommend ed within 24 hours. I wish I had the taste buds to define all the flavors that I read about, but alas not. My question is why is it recommended to cup within 24 hours of the roast when it is also recommended to let the roasted beans rest for a few days to get the best flavor from the roast,

This is my 2 cents… The recommendation I was aware of is to cup after 24 hrs so that the beans can off gas and develop its flavor. I’m not verse on the science behind the why, but I have noticed that a Yemen does need a few days of rest for it to obtain peak flavor. I suppose you can think of it like wine - aging allows it to develop in the bottle and soften its tannins, but of course not all wine can age 20 or 40 yrs :slight_smile: Or a pot of braised short ribs tastes better the next day but doesn’t necessarily tastes better 5 days later…

SCA says “The roasting of coffee for cupping shall take between 8 and 12 minutes, and shall be used for cupping between 8 and 24 hours after roasting.”

I think one reason is for consistency (they’re trying to set a worldwide standard).

But also I think the idea is to taste as many flavors as possible, including the ones that will blur together as the coffee ages.

I sometimes make a cup as soon as the beans have cooled. I look for burned or grassy flavors, get an impression of the fruit vs. chocolate balance. If it’s not good, I know right away and I change up the roast. Harder to tell if something is excellent.

Yeah, I agree about the long wait with Yemeni beans, @blacklabs
I lost track of a bag for a month, it ended up being the best ever.

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I would say you can taste the roast defects within 24hrs for sure but you might not be able to figure out the subtle flavors until a few days (maybe as much as 7) days post roasts

Hey @larryaknigge I’m assuming you’re referring to roast profile cupping not green coffee evaluation? As home/nano scale roasters I don’t think we should get too caught up in SCAA dogma (though the guidelines do promote consistency and are widely regarded as best practice).

In my opinion the 24 hour rule enables one to pick up roast/bean defects at their most obvious before the beans have had a chance to begin to “mellow” in flavour. In our situation think it’s more important to stay consistent in the time between roasting and cupping then setting a hard 24 hour of roast cupping rule. If you’d prefer to evaluate your coffee three days after roasting then do that! However if one was cupping to evaluate the green beans or cupping production roasts in a commercial setting then I’d be sticking with the 24 hour rule to ensure any defects or off flavours/faults are at their most perceptible.

@damon is pretty much bang on though, the 24 hour rule is all about consistency. However a counter argument to my “cup whenever you like as long as you’re consistent” idea is that although cupping should hopefully be a rewarding sensory experience, it’s purely designed to be a way to consistently evaluate your coffee, whether it’s analysis of a new green bean or tasting/evaluating your roast profile.

If one were evaluating a new green bean then be sure to hit it with a “sample roast” profile, either one you’ve downloaded off another user or one you’ve developed yourself using SCAA guidelines. And be sure to always use this profile for green bean analysis as you’re roasting (and cupping) to determine the flavour profile of coffee which will hopefully guide you in developing a roast profile for that particular coffee.

However letting a particular coffee age before cupping to ensure a more pleasant experience kind of defeats the purpose of cupping. There’s nothing stopping you from cupping one day post roast then cupping again three (or more) days post roast. This might even help hone your skills further!

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