2022 SCA Expo Education: Atlas Flavor Game + Survey

By: Chelsey Walker-Watson

Apr 6, 2022

At Atlas, we cup a lot. And we think about flavor. We’ve been doing this with care and taking notes for over two decades! Some flavors are viscerally enjoyable and make us want to buy that coffee. Other flavors are unpleasant and, on rare occasions, engage our sympathetic nervous system with a “poison” warning that this flavor should be avoided! Still, in other cases, there are flavors that we expect in certain contexts and not in others, or flavors that are acceptable at some thresholds but become problematic with greater intensity.  

A few years ago, in an attempt to codify our expectations for many of our products and begin to measure their performance more objectively, we combed our cupping database for many years of descriptive terminology, looked for patterns, filed flavors into categories, and then used these categories to establish flavor profiles for our reoccurring products. In doing so, we have developed our own Atlas flavor lexicon. 

Early in the pandemic, I asked the members of our cupping panel to weigh in on many of these descriptive terms. Do you find them positive, unpleasant, or somewhere in between? And we were able to take these responses and quantify the value or perceived quality of different terms among the Atlas cupping team.  

Now, we’re welcoming you to join us in this activity! Every small group that cups together for a while becomes more alike. So, we’d love to hear from a larger audience of cuppers. What flavors are inspiring and attractive to you? Which ones are unpleasant or in a gray zone? We’ve selected 50 of the terms in our list, and we will be offering you the opportunity to tell us what you think at our SCA Expo booth in Boston.

If you’re not going to make it to Boston or find it more convenient, you can also submit your results through an online survey. Your results will be anonymous, but we will compile them and release some of our findings in blog posts after the show. Thank you in advance for your participation and feedback!

Take the survey here. We look forward to learning your thoughts!

-Drew Billups, Director of Education