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Coffee Beans Grading: Uncovering the World of Specialty Coffee

Specialty coffee beans require meticulous care in cultivation, harvesting, processing, roasting, and brewing. coffee beans grading This group of coffee beans is known for their superior quality and high grade and is classified as “specialty beans.” The grading of specialty coffee quality varies from country to country and is influenced by culture, which affects the general processing of coffee depending on the area of coffee beans grading origin. Therefore, each country develops its suitable protocol to determine the quality and fair price in the market.

Grades of Coffee Beans

coffee beans grading

The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) sets the standard for coffee beans grading with five grades based on the number of defects and cup quality. The highest grade is the Specialty Grade, followed by Premium Grade, Exchange Grade, Below Standard Grade, and Off Grade. The SCAA’s standard is based on the count of defects and unique aroma, taste, body, or acidity elements.

Standardized grading for specialty coffee in Indonesia, or any coffee-producing region, is essential for maintaining quality standards and ensuring that buyers and consumers can trust the product they are purchasing.The Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) provides a framework for coffee beans grading specialty coffee that is widely recognized internationally.Here is a suggested approach to standardized grading for Indonesian specialty coffee:

1.Bean Quality Inspection:

Screen Size:

Coffee beans are typically sorted by size using screens. Specialty coffee often requires a specific screen size range, e.g., 16-18 for Arabica.


Beans should be inspected for defects like insect damage, over-fermentation, mold, and physical damage.

2.Moisture Content

Measure the moisture content of the beans. Specialty coffee usually requires a moisture content between 9-12%.


Determine the density of the beans, which can affect roasting profiles and cupping results.

4.Color and Appearance

Examine the color and overall appearance of the beans. Specialty coffee should have a uniform color and appearance.

5.Cupping Evaluation

Utilize the SCA cupping protocol, which includes aspects like aroma, flavor, aftertaste, acidity, body, balance, uniformity, clean cup, sweetness, and overall impression. Each of these aspects is rated on a scale of 1-10.

6.Aroma Profile

Evaluate the aroma of the coffee, which can include fragrance and aroma notes.

7.Flavor Profile

Assess the flavor profile, including specific taste notes, acidity, sweetness, and body.


Evaluate the perceived acidity of the coffee. Specialty coffee often emphasizes a balanced and pleasing acidity.


Determine if the coffee has a balanced combination of flavors and characteristics.


Evaluate the lingering tastes after swallowing. A clean, pleasant aftertaste is desirable.

Standardized Grading for Indonesia Specialty Coffee

Specialty coffee grading

Indonesia’s standardized grading system for green coffee beans is Standard Nasional Indonesia (SNI) Biji Kopi, updated in 2008. The system applies to Robusta and Arabica coffee beans grading and is divided into six levels based on the number of defects per 300 grams. The criteria for assessing the coffee beans’ quality include density, fragrance, size, color, shape, and condition.

Specialty Coffee Beans Grading Process

Defects in coffee beans grading can come from the farm, processing mill, or transport. The primary defects significantly influence the cup quality, while the secondary defects do not. To start the grading process, 100 to 300 grams of the sample will enter the screening process using 14 to 18 screen sizes. The sorted beans will be roasted and entered into the cupping process to evaluate the overall taste, flavor, acidity, body, sweetness, balance, and aroma. The graders will also look for taints or faults and decide whether the coffee is clean and even.

The Role of Coffee Graders


Coffee graders are responsible for evaluating and categorizing coffee beans. They must follow the standard protocol set by the SCAA to ensure the quality of the coffee bean. The grading process is a skilled profession that requires the grader to have a keen sense of taste, smell, and sight. Graders must also have experience in roasting and brewing coffee to be able to detect any defects. Graders also play a vital role in the coffee industry as they help determine the fair price of coffee in the market. They ensure farmers are paid fairly for cultivating and harvesting high-quality coffee beans.


Conclusion In summary, the quality of specialty coffee beans depends on various factors, such as the country of origin, culture, and grading system. Indonesia has its grading system called the Standard Nasional Indonesia (SNI) Biji Kopi, based on the number of defects per 300 grams. The coffee bean grading process is crucial in determining the quality of the coffee beans grading and ensuring that farmers are paid fairly for their efforts. Coffee graders play a vital role in this process and must follow the standard protocol set by the SCAA. Understanding coffee beans’ grading process and quality can help consumers make informed decisions when purchasing coffee and appreciate the skill and effort required to produce high-quality specialty coffee.