Tastify -- Brief Review

Discuss roast levels and profiles for espresso, equipment for roasting coffee.
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#1: Post by boar_d_laze » Apr 09, 2015, 2:52 pm

Tastify is a tasting app, available at an address so creatively named, you'd never guess in a million years.

It's made and marketed by Sustainable Harvest, cloud based, and available only by subscription. $10/mo for a single user license; and $15/mo for an "Enterprise" multi user license. I'm not sure if there are restrictions on the multi-user license or not.

It's a powerful and flexible tasting score sheet which allows you to enter data on your device instead of a paper score sheet (convenient), totals the sheet (nice), compiles a report, and archives everything (a miracle!) on the cloud.

Reports can be shared by email or social media. Sadly, there is no H-B provision nor other forum provision.

Enough data must be typed in which means that Tastify is most convenient for desktops, laptops and large tablets. A small tab or a large phone (such as a Galaxy Note or iPhone 6 Plus) would be doable but difficult. A regular phone? Unless you've got the texting skills of a teenage girl, fuhgeddaboudid.

The scoring sheets are broken up into categories, and each category includes suggested descriptors. Anyone familiar with SCAA and COE type scoring, and "the wheel" won't find any thing surprising or lacking. In addition to the provided descriptors cuppers may enter their own. Each category is scored on a ten point basis to the nearest 0.25 point.

The report includes an aroma/flavor wheel as well as the same type of "spider web" plot Sweet Marias used.

I've cupped two roasts each with a separate beans and found my totals and descriptors very reminiscent of a Ken Davids' review on CR.

Tastify doesn't offer much new in the way of scoring, but organizes your cupping impressions into a familiar and well understood style that should be useful to anyone sophisticated enough to read Coffee Review as well.

Any device which can access ordinary web pages can use Tastify. That partially answers the threshold "Who can use it?" question, while bringing up the also threshold and all important "Compare to what?" context.

Until now there have been some sorta OK cupping apps for iOS (iCupper Master Assistant), but nothing written for Android and Windows comes close to meeting my needs.

Tastify seems extremely well suited for home roasters who wants to keep records; communicate with other home roasters; and (possibly) cup with a number of others each in his own location.

I save my Artisan roasts with a four digit system; and of course include the roast number in the name of each Tastify session. Fine as far it goes, and better than looking at a notebook of cupping sheets at the same time as pulling up Artisan logs. If the Artisan are saved to a cloud, perhaps API integration (comes with the Enterprise license) will allow for one touch association from any device which can connect to both clouds. Once I get a "personal cloud" set up in the next few weeks, I'll know. At worst it will allow simultaneous access.

Unless you're the type of home roaster who does a more than a few different bean types over the course of a year, and tests multiple profiles for each of them, the Tastify subscription price will probably seem too high.

So far, after two cupping sessions, I'm in love and committed.

Drop a nickel in the pot Joe. Takin' it slow. Waiter, waiter, percolator

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#2: Post by [creative nickname] » Apr 09, 2015, 4:37 pm

I've used it a few times now, and have come away very impressed. I find that the large selection of available sensory descriptors has made my cupping a bit more focused and detailed. I like that it takes a middle ground on scoring fragrance/aroma, neither giving it as much weight as in the SCAA procedure nor as little as in the COE form. And it is just plain fun to get the output of the tasting as both a spider graph and a flavor wheel!

I find that this works best on a tablet; I hate cupping while sitting at my computer, and a phone screen is too small to be usable. It is a bit more fuss than simple paper scoring, but the auto-tabulation, the archiving and the output displays make it worthwhile for me.

It would be fun if we could get an enterprise account and share it among the Roast and Learn thread participants; that would be a great way to allow us all to easily share more detailed cupping results! If anyone is interested in that, feel free to send me a PM.
LMWDP #435

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#3: Post by [creative nickname] » Apr 09, 2015, 8:10 pm

My one complaint so far about the usability of the site is the lack of an easy way to export an image of the taste wheels and other images to post here. I did figure out one way to get it done, which is to use their "print report" feature, choose PDF as the print method, and then grab a screenshot out of the PDF viewer. It works, but I just wish there was an easier way, because the images are so much fun:

LMWDP #435

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#4: Post by NoStream » Apr 17, 2015, 2:37 pm

I wanted to revive this thread a bit after a few uses.

I think the app is reasonably innovative and interesting. Having archives of cuppings is certainly useful. I can see this as being worthwhile for some, especially commercial roasters and green coffee buyers with a number of staff members.

As far as functionality, having a menu to click through aroma and flavor notes provides a bit of structure and helps me identify some I would've missed. It might encourage listing notes that aren't terribly prominent. The system for adding notes that aren't listed isn't very good; you can add them at least, but you cannot add them to them to a superordinate category (e.g. if I want to add "garbanzo bean," I can't add it to the category of vegetal).

For non-aroma and flavor descriptors, the lists are very helpful for thinking about body, balance, finish, acidity, and so on. I really applaud the program in that regard.

The app follows the SCAA scheme to a bit of a fault in that clean cup and whatnot are forced to be present - not very useful if you're only using 1-2 samples per coffee. Sweetness is a binary yes/no for an imagined five bowls. Again, not ideal. Virtually no one still scores sweetness in a binary fashion.

I see that the enterprise version has API access. I'm curious if that means one could customize the scoring system. For me, that's the key missing feature, and the one that I'd really need in order to pay for this service. Lots of roasters have their own cupping sheets, and I'll probably return to my own once my free month runs out.

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#5: Post by drgary » Apr 17, 2015, 3:17 pm

I would like to see this as a smartphone app, more reasonably priced for a hobbyist.

What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!

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#6: Post by boar_d_laze » replying to drgary » Apr 18, 2015, 3:46 am

IOs stuff has been around for years. For android, don't hold your breath.

Beyond wishing, a smartphone app sounds good but the keyboards are too inconvenient for the amount of data entry necessary. Even a big tab is kind of a pain.

Drop a nickel in the pot Joe. Takin' it slow. Waiter, waiter, percolator

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#7: Post by weebit_nutty » Apr 18, 2015, 2:57 pm

For Android, check out Cupping Lab or Flavor Journal.

I've used both and they are great.. Cupping Lab is a bit simple but has an elegant, easy to use interface. More than enough features to catalog your cuppings. It won People's Choice Best New Product - Open Class - SCAA 2013. Flavor Journal is actually very good too, although not as pretty. It's very comprehensive, and that's kind of what you need if your serious about logging your tastings.

Tastify looks great. Clearly they've looked at the competition and have built on top of what's been done. Making it cloud-based and social is the obvious avenue if you want to go big. That way your user base is both measurable and far more serviceable. I'm glad to a solution that takes it to the next level. No doubt Tastify has the potential to become the defacto standard for this sort of thing if something doesn't come along soon. Perhaps the other guys are kicking themselves right now. Of course this is all speculative as we really don't know what the uptake will be in using this service. In other words, how valuable is the data collected, really? And how likely will folks in the industry want to share their results? Coffee is extremely crowded and competitive, and everyone roastery has their own secret sauce--why would they want to share it?

Beyond the digital form to avoid "paper has coffee stains", what problems does this address? I wonder if the novelty is just that.
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