How To Make Better Coffee – SCA Golden Cup Standards

How To Make Better Coffee – SCA Golden Cup Standards

Make better coffee at home

Learning how to make better coffee at home is a shared goal amongst every coffee drinker out there. Although there are many ways to brew your favorite, it’s always a great idea to have some sort of guide to follow, that simply helps you know. if you’re doing good, better or worse. It’s all part of the learning curve and the processes we go through in life… and to make better coffee – is no different.

Golden Cup Standard SCA Coffee from Puerto Rico - Image by Wiwi Ortiz
Golden cup brew – 📸 Wiwi Ortiz

“Ultimately, you want to maximize your coffee’s potential – You make better tasting coffee and your day will thank you for it. “

Easy Coffee Brewing Guide Links

What is an SCA Coffee Standard?

From : ” SCA standards are high-quality recommendations based upon scientific testings, that are agreed upon by qualified industry professionals (committee) which set values and/or ranges of values for coffee. ”

What all this means is : when care and thought is placed at every stage of the coffee supply chain as a measurable and repeatable action (following necessary protocols) , this will ensure the highest level of coffee quality possible.

The current SCA standards cover water, green coffee, and the coffee cupping process.

Green Coffee Standards

This particular protocol ensures the allowable defects per coffee batch are kept to a minimum, to guarantee specialty coffee grade quality.

” To be considered specialty grade, green coffee shall have zero category one (1) defects and five or less category two (2) defects” The green coffee standards also cover topics ranging from : green grading sample size, lighting for green grading, surface for grading and water activity (moisture levels) standard.

Cupping Standards

Cupping is a quantifiable and widely used method of analysis for a coffee sample, from its overall quality to individual characteristics (such as acidity or body) and specific flavour notes.” – Perfect Daily Grind

Cupping is also used to identify and determine the ideal roasting profile and brewing method of a particular coffee lot. The SCA standards for cupping cover a range of topics from the appropriate vessel to use while tasting, to the roast level of your beans, equipment and coffee grind size and room requirements for an effective session.

Golden Cup Standard SCA Coffee from Puerto Rico - La Rancilio La Marzocco Espresso Shot - Image by Wiwi Ortiz
“Pulling a perfect shot of espresso” 📸 : Wiwi Ortiz

Water Standards

Water used for brewing should have the following characteristics : Be odor free , No Chlorine present. Calcium hardness should be at 50-175 ppm CaCO3 , Alkalinity acceptable range is at or around 40-70 ppm CaCO3 with the ideal water Ph of 7.

Golden Cup Brewing Standard

According to SCA’s latest guidelines to achieve the Golden Cup standard during brewing:

 Coffee-to-Water Ratio: To achieve the Golden Cup Standard, the recommended coffee-to-water ratio is 55 g/L ± 10%.

 Coffee Preparation Temperature: To achieve the Golden Cup Standard, water temperature, at the point of contact with coffee, is recommended to fall between 200°F ± 5° (93.0°C ± 3°).

Golden Cup Standard SCA  Grind Size Coffee from Puerto Rico - Water Standards - Image by Wiwi Ortiz

 Grind/particle size distribution: matches the time of coffee-to-water contact

 Time of Coffee-to-water Contact: 1-4 minutes Fine, 4-6 minutes Drip, 6-8 minutes Coarse

 Temperature: 200°F ± 5° (93.0°C ± 3°)

Golden Cup Standard SCA Coffee from Puerto Rico - Water Standards - Image by Wiwi Ortiz
Manual brewing extraction – 📸 Wiwi Ortiz

 Filter media (least affect to brew flavor, body, time of contact & sediment less than 75 milligrams per 100 milliliters)


When you are practicing the best coffee standards, your level of awareness and appreciation for the coffee you are consuming increases and your overall experience is enhanced.

The goal here is to always extract the maximum potential out of your coffee brewing sessions, for the best, consistent, cleanest cup possible. These protocols and standards are set in order to have repeatable, successful coffee extractions each and every time, guaranteeing the highest level of quality in your cup.

In this way, we make better coffee while honoring those who work so hard to provide us our daily brew.

For additional, more in-depth and extensive coverage of these topics visit:

For Barista Education, Training Workshops and SCA Certifications visit:


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