I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the iPad.  Specifically, I’ve been thinking a lot about how the iPad could be useful for coffee folks.  Again, I don’t spend my entire day working with coffee…I’m behind a computer entrenched in software and technology.  These are merely ideas and I’m really curious whether they’re actually good ideas, or just completely off the mark.

The iPad

Google “SCAA cupping form” and you find a PDF from the excellent Home Roastery blog.  The next link down, funny enough, is a PDF of the Cup of Excellence form, this time hosted at Sweet Maria’s.  Obviously, you’re supposed to print these out, make copies and then be off on your merry way.  Over here at RoastLog, we let you add cupping notes with any form you want (you build it yourself) and it’s all digital, so you can recall those notes later.  However, having your laptop right next to you while you slurp your way around a crowded table full of cupping cups may not be that practical.  And let’s face it…sometimes pen and paper are just easier to use than keyboard and mouse.

When the iPad came out, I immediately thought that this could be the perfect platform for cuppings.  It’s small and light enough so that it’s easy to carry around, just like a notebook.  It’s got a large enough screen so that it’s easy to read.  There really aren’t any moving parts to speak of, so if some liquid splatters the screen, the device doesn’t break (ever spilled a drink on your laptop keyboard?).  With the touchscreen, it’d be a breeze to quickly enter cupping scores and some brief notes.  On top of that, given the right piece of software, you could quickly tag coffees with your favorite keywords if you didn’t feel like writing a detailed description.

Am I completely off my rocker, or would the iPad completely change cuppings?  I don’t cup each and every day, so would love to hear from the folks who do.


crackedconcrete · March 17, 2010 at 9:02 pm

I totally agree there needs to be a quick and effective way to record cupping notes and scores, store information and calibrate with other cuppers. Especially in other cities or countries. IPad could be an effective tool. The Portolab had a lot of potential, but did not sustain.

Woody Wiginton · April 6, 2010 at 2:59 am

I would rather keep one hand free and capture the data on an iPod. Enter data fields or picklists that are well designed for field collection are a good model. Collaboration between cuppers is always benefitial, so if there is a centralized data store that multiple clients can access and contribute to, it can lead to improved results.

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