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SCA SENSORY CURRICULUM

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SCA SENSORY SKILLS - FOUNDATION

1. General Information

Course Length: Minimum 7 hours
Prerequisites: None; Introduction to Coffee recommended

Written Exam Information:

  • Total Number of Questions on Online Written Exam: 25 questions

  • Total Time Allowed for Online Written Exam: 27 minutes

  • Passing Score (Online Written Exam): 60%

Practical Exam Information:

  • This Foundation course does not include a practical exam

2. Course Description

The Sensory Skills Foundation course explores the essentials of sensory evaluation in a practical and interactive manner. It investigates the way
we perceive what we taste and how to apply this knowledge when evaluating coffee’s natural characteristics. It also offers insight into identifying
specialty coffee qualities, as well as an overview of how to implement this in business.

3. Written Exam Questions Distribution by Topic

1.01 THEORETICAL PRINCIPLES OF SENSORY ANALYSIS

  1. Defining Sensory Analysis

  2. Role of Sensory Analysis in the Coffee Industry

1.02 PHYSIOLOGY AND SENSORY ATTRIBUTES

  1. Physiology and Human Anatomy

  2. Basic Tastes

  3. Basic Aromas

1.03 IDENTIFYING SENSORIAL CHARACTERISTICS IN COFFEE

  1. Taste and Body in Coffee

  2. Aromas in Coffee

  3. Communication and Language in Sensory Analysis

  4. Introduction to the SCA Flavor Wheel

1.04 CUPPING PROTOCOL

  1. Defining Cupping

  2. The SCA Cupping Methodology

  3. Core Cupping Protocol

  4. Core Sensory Equipment within the Cupping Room

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SCA SENSORY SKILLS - INTERMEDIATE

1. General Information

Course Length: Minimum 14 hours including practical exam
Prerequisites: None; Introduction to Coffee, Sensory Skills Foundation and Green Coffee Foundation recommended

Written Exam Information:

  • Total Number of Questions on Online Written Exam: 35 questions

  • Total Time Allowed for Online Written Exam: 37 minutes

  • Passing Score (Online Written Exam): 70%

Practical Exam Information:

  • Total Time Allowed for Practical Exam: 60 minutes

  • Passing Score (Practical Exam): 70% = 37 points correct / 53 total exam points

2. Course Description

The Sensory Skills Intermediate course builds on the concepts and skills introduced in the Sensory Skills Foundation course. It is ideal for someone who has cupping experience and wants to develop their sensory skills and knowledge of related science. This course covers a wide range of topics, including the physiology of taste and aroma; the types of sensory analysis tests, the operation of a cupping session; the diversity of coffee attributes; the use of the SCA Flavor Wheel and WCR Sensory Lexicon; and the implementation of a sensory analysis panel and session.

3. Written Exam Questions Distribution by Topic

2.01 SENSORY ANALYSIS OVERVIEW

  1. Four Stages of Sensory Analysis

  2. Purpose and Challenges of Sensory Science

  3. Importance of Sensory Analysis in Coffee

  4. Purpose of Cupping as Related to Sensory Science

2.02 PHYSIOLOGY AND SENSORY ATTRIBUTES

  1. Taste and Aroma

  2. Human Physiology and The Senses

  3. Impact of Psychology on Sensory Perception

  4. Evaluating Sensorial Qualities in Coffee

  5. Five Basic Tastes

  6. Common Mouthfeel Sensations

  7. Impact of Supply Chain on Flavor

  8. Positive and Negative Aromas

2.03 TRIANGULAR TESTING

  1. Purpose of Triangle Testing

  2. Common Applications for Triangle Testing

  3. Triangle Testing Protocols and Statistics

  4. Alternative Methods for Discrimination Testing

2.04 CUPPING SESSION OPERATIONS

  1. Key Terms in the SCA Cupping Protocol

  2. Terminology on the SCA Cupping Form

  3. Qualitative and Quantitative Scales

2.05  CUPPING FORMS IN USE

  1. Non-SCA Cupping Forms

  2. Importance of Standardized Cupping and Protocols

2.06 SETTING UP A SENSORY PROGRAM

  1. Definition and Purpose of a Sensory Panel

  2. Venue Requirements for a Sensory Analysis

  3. Sensory Analysis Best Practices

2.07 SETTING UP A SENSORY PANEL

  1. Panel Selection and Proposals

  2. Panelist Screening and Training

  3. Sensory Performance Testing and Calibration

2.08 IN/OUT TESTS vs DESCRIPTIVE TESTS

  1. In/Out Test Definition and Purpose

2.09 ANALYTICAL TESTS

  1. Analytical Testing

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SCA SENSORY SKILLS - PROFESSIONAL

1. General Information

Course Length: Minimum 21 hours
Prerequisites: Sensory Skills Intermediate.
Roasting Intermediate and Green Coffee Intermediate highly recommended.

Written Exam Information:

  • Total Number of Questions on Online Written Exam: 40 questions

  • Total Time Allowed for Online Written Exam: 42 minutes

  • Passing Score (Online Written Exam): 80%

Practical Exam Information:

  • Total Time Allowed for Practical Exam: 145 minutes

  • Passing Score: 80% = 57.5 points correct / 72 total exam points

2. Course Description

The Sensory Skills Professional course builds on the concepts and skills introduced in the Sensory Skills Intermediate course and prepares the learner for managerial job functions in the sensory evaluation of coffee and related products. In this interactive course, learners gain alignment with industry coffee and sensory standards; learn about the implementation of sensory evaluation in a coffee business; acquire the skills required to start identifying and evaluating qualities in specialty green coffee; and demonstrate how to accurately measure and describe coffee beverage characteristics. Participants will learn how to generate repeatable and methodical sensory measurements of coffee, along with interpretation of those results. A written exam tests professional course knowledge while a practical exam tests the skills described above based on different working activities carried out during the course.

3. Written Exam Questions Distribution by Topic

3.01 SENSORY OVERVIEW

  1. Importance of Sensory Analysis

3.02 PHYSIOLOGY AND SENSORY ATTRIBUTES

  1. Chain of Sensory Perception

  2. Sensation and Perception

  3. Impact of Stimuli Interactions on Perception

  4. Thresholds and Sensitivity

3.03 BIAS & ERROR

  1. Psychological Based Biases

  2. Mitigation of Bias in Sensory Evaluation

3.04 SCA FLAVOR WHEEL & WCR LEXICON

  1. Application and Taxonomy

3.05 GUSTATORY ATTRIBUTES IN COFFEE

  1. Rank Intensity of Gustatory Attributes

  2. Distinguish Differences in Quality of Attributes Applied to Coffee

3.06 MOUTHFEEL IN COFFEE

  1. Mouthfeel

3.07 POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE ATTRIBUTES IN COFFEE

  1. Cultural Perceptions of Flavors

  2. Distinguishing and Assessing Value in Flavor Attributes

  3. Common Negative Attributes

3.08 SENSORY DESCRIPTIVE PROFILING

  1. Basics and Sensory Descriptive Methods

  2. Analyzing Data and Interpreting Results

3.09 APPLYING SCA CUPPING PROTOCOL

  1. SCA Cupping Protocol Review and Application

  2. Processing Considerations with SCA Cupping Form

  3. SCA Cupping Calibration

3.10 SENSORY PANELS & CALIBRATION APPLIED

  1. Objective Sensory Evaluation

  2. Preparing A Training Program

  3. Sensory Panel Performance, Health and Welfare

3.11 SHELF LIFE, CONSUMER TESTING AND NEW PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT

  1. Determining Shelf Life

  2. Consumer Testing

  3. New Product Development

  4. Plan for Sensory Testing Design