- Cupping services with scores provided from the scoring formats used for Cup of Excellence, Specialty Coffee Association of America, or other scoring formats
- Determination of coffee quality according to market segment (specialty, usual-good-quality, commercial, etc.)
- Development of standards of sensory analysis for quality control
- Freshness issues
Once a product is developed, the intended flavor profile must be maintained so that repeat purchases are made by targeted consumers. This can be especially challenging with coffee, since it naturally varies year to year and throughout the year. If the flavor profile has been developed in enough detail, the most important aspects of flavor that a consumer will expect to find can be maintained with reasonable consistency.
Besides having the preferred and expected flavors, a large part of quality control is to ensure that defective or poor flavors do not occur. Poor handling at any point in the process, from harvest to roast to packaging, can cause certain types of defective flavors to result. Good quality control programs have in place the following parameters.
- Well-defined and achievable specifications
- A statistically valid sampling plan that accurately reflects the overall quality and size of production
- Action to be taken if standards are not met
- A record keeping system of results so that trends and other useful information can be evaluated
Songer and Associates can determine necessary specifications and standards or developing a realistic level of testing that will reflect the quality being produced.
The fishbone diagram shows how various quality control tests follow each other. Other important considerations include how standards for the different tests and how often tests must be conducted to ensure a quality product.