Refers to the layer of grounds that forms on the surface of a freshly brewed cup of coffee during cupping and assists in the aromatic evaluation of a coffee.

A kettle pouring hot water into a series of 4 cups during a coffee cupping
The crust is forming on the top two cups during this tasting at the Canterbury Roastery in Richmond, BC

A cupper first evaluates the aroma of the wet grounds, then breaks the layer of grounds (the crust) with a spoon, evaluating the ensuing aroma before eventually scraping away the grounds and then moving on to the tasting process. The crust is removed before tasting the coffee because it can affect the perception of the coffee’s aroma and flavour. The aroma of the coffee is an important aspect of the coffee’s flavour profile, and the taster will take a deep sniff of the coffee to detect the aroma.

In addition to the aroma, the taster will also evaluate the coffee’s flavor, acidity, body, and aftertaste. These are all important aspects of the coffee’s flavor profile and are used to determine the quality of the coffee.

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