SCAA stands for the Specialty Coffee Association of America, an organization founded in 1982 by a small group of coffee experts in New York City. Its mission was to establish a trade association specializing in the promotion and distribution of quality coffee. The SCAA aims to educate coffee professionals and foster collaboration to drive the growth of the specialty coffee industry. It offers various training programs, services and networking opportunities for its members, sets industry standards, awards certifications and conducts relevant research. Through its involvement, SCAA has made significant contributions to the development and promotion of the specialty coffee industry.
A notable achievement of the SCAA is the development of the Flavor-Wheel, a standardized method for describing the aroma and flavor characteristics of coffee, the two main criteria used in coffee tasting. The Flavor-Wheel consists of a variety of adjectives and terms that describe the aroma and flavor attributes of coffee. Starting with general attributes such as roast intensity, the terms become increasingly specific, allowing coffee experts to use the Flavor Wheel to characterize and describe the subtleties of coffee flavors. The SCAA's Flavor Wheel has become a valuable tool in the industry to help professionals communicate and understand the complex sensory experience of coffee. In German, this is equivalent to the Berlin School of Coffee's Aroma Wheel.