Benchtop roaster maker Ikawa has expanded the functionality of its Ikawa Pro app to include the Ikawa Cup, a digital cupping form and record-keeping system designed to simplify evaluation and purchasing for professional roasters.
The Ikawa Cup cupping model is mainly aimed at ease of use during cupping, while there are a variety of features to coordinate cupping, communicate results and indicate previous cupping results.
Members can access group cupping either in the same room or from anywhere in the world using a 5-digit code. Blind cupping can be arranged through the system’s automatic assignment of three-digit codes for each roasted coffee.
Jeff Woodley, product manager at Ikawa, told Daily Coffee News that when developing the Ikawa Cup, the company closely shadowed coffee professionals as they ordered, roasted and evaluated samples in order to determine what data they valued and meet their current habits.
“We’ve repeatedly observed that people spend 30-40 minutes evaluating coffee, writing notes and results on paper, and then more often than not throwing that paper away after they’ve decided which coffee they want to buy,” Woodley told DCN. “The advantages of digital cupping forms are quite obvious.”
Woodley said that while professionals have expressed an interest in cupping digitally, they often prefer to experiment with writing notes by hand.
“So when we set out to design a model, we decided our competition was paper and pen,” Woodley said. “If a form isn’t as easy to use as paper and pen, people won’t use it. I’m really proud of how handy and easy the form is, and it unlocks the benefits of using a digital form.”
For Ikawa owners, the data is automatically incorporated into their records for each coffee. The app is also free for anyone to use, including people who don’t own or use Ikawa toasters.
The last major update to Ikawa’s Pro roasting app came with the launch of version 3.0 in April 2020, which features improvements to the roasting profile storage library, backup/sync features and additional roasting data. Last year, the London-based, England-based company introduced the Ikawa Pro100, a toaster with the same footprint but twice the roasting capacity as their original 50g models.
At the SCA Expo in Boston in April of this year, the company launched a trial version of the Ikawa Cup. The official iOS prototype was launched this month in conjunction with Ikawa’s presence at the World of Coffee event in Milan. An Android version of the Ikawa Cup is expected to be released later this year.
“We believe that by making the tools easier to evaluate samples, we can take great strides toward improving coffee,” Woodley said. “Creating a digital user form was the first step. After that, there are a lot of exciting features that we can add.”
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Howard Breman is Associate Editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. He resides in Portland, Oregon.