September 7, 2004

Single Serve Coffee Review System - How We Rate Coffee and Hot Beverages

We rate our coffee reviews based on Aroma, Acidity, Body, Flavor, Mouth Feel, and an overall impression of the coffee or single serve hot beverage. We use a rating of 0-100 and in each of the categories assign points points to each. We don't separate out Roast in our reviews for coffee, but assign the overall profile of a coffee drinker we think would like this coffee and match it to the roast impression we receive.

Note:This is an updated coffee review system we have put in place for Fall 2007 moving forward. Many of our older reviews use a 1-5 star rating or "pod rating" system. At the time we felt this was a good indicator of the overall quality of the coffee or hot beverage delivered, but it missed the nuances and degree of differences in those drinks.

We also consider how good of a single serve product the coffee is - does it work well in the single serve coffee machine? Does it deliver on the promise of being an extra-bold coffee? All of this plays out into what we think the overall score should be and is up to the discretion of the reviewer.

We then assign 0-10 points to each of the categories below, and then use the remaining 50 points to assign the overall impression of the coffee or hot beverage.

Aroma - How great does the coffee smell? Does it have sweet notes? Rich notes? Fruity or flavorful notes? Does the single serve coffee drink have a pleasant or not so pleasant nose?

Acidity - Acidity is both the creator of flavor and the destroyer if too strong of a great cup of coffee. We like our acidity to be on the lower side, and the coffee to have a more round. That being said, some coffees taste great with a very high acid content - bringing an almost wine-like flavor profile. We try and make sure the acidity doesn't overpower the coffee here.

Body - How big is that coffee? Is it light or dark or medium? Is it too heavy? These are all things to consider when tasting different roasts of coffee.

Flavor - What's the overall impressions of the coffee and how does it taste? Does it hit the mark on being a French Roast? Does it remind you of something else? Does it seem to be darker than expected and have a very odd finish? All of this along with how the coffee seems to be playing out is the flavor for us.

Mouth Feel - Though some consider this to be in the "Aftertaste" camp, we consider how rich, thick, and how the coffee plays in your mouth a very big part of the experience. Aftertaste is great for lingering flavors, but mouth feel is how the coffee goes in and rolls around.

Coffee Drinker - We don't assign points here, but we do tell you the type of coffee drinker we think the coffee is for. Is it for a dark coffee drinker? Is the roast very light and perfect for anyone?

Overall Rating

Ratings run from 0-100 and as we score each of the above. The reviewer can also ignore many of the above factors if not reviewing a coffee, and assign an overall score to a hot chocolate, tea, or other hot beverage.

  • 95-100 Excellent
  • 90-94 Exceptional
  • 85-89 Good
  • 80-84 Average
  • 75-79 Fair
  • 70-74 Poor
  • 70 or less Don't Drink

We want to acknowledge as a starting point to our coffee ratings system. We have put our own spin on the coffee rating system for single serve coffee and the other hot beverages single serve coffee systems can make like tea, hot cocoa, lattes, and other hot drinks.

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Posted by Jay Brewer at September 7, 2004 7:56 AM
Recent Comments

you didn't say how much water you use for a k-cup to taste test? 6 oz? 8 oz? Thank you!

Posted by: david at December 12, 2011 1:48 PM
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