The Karma Cup Scoring System
Have you ever wondered how the Karma Cup works and what it takes to win? Understanding our scoring system is crucial if you want to compete or judge our cup. In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at how cannabis cups like ours judge their entrants. Of course, every competition will have slightly different criteria but this is how we do it and have done it since 2014…
Like wine competitions or gymnastics, success at the Karma Cup is based on cumulative judges’ scores. This style of competition has always been a popular way to identify the objective “best” competitors amidst inherent subjective judges’ opinions.
This year each of our 28 finalists will be assessed blindly by a panel of 5,000 Ontario judges. The maximum score that an entry can receive is a combined 100 points. Each of our 10 categories are scored from 0-10, and the highest scoring producers take home the trophies.
Although our competition has evolved a lot over the past ten years, this style of scoring system has stuck with us since our earliest seasons.
First, judges are asked to asses the product using nearly all of their senses. This “pre-sesh” evaluation has always been a crucial element of cannabis evaluation.
Is the product enjoyable to smoke? Last but not least, are the effects pleasant? The main reason cannabis smokers use the plant is for its effects.
Demystifying The Scoring Categories
The scoring system used by the Karma Cup is based on a point system, with each entry being evaluated blindly by a panel of 5,000 judges. The maximum score that an entry can receive is 100 points, and the winners are determined by the highest overall scores. The scoring system used by the Karma Cup can be broken into two major parts; pre-session evaluation and then smoking experience. Each of these parts has its own important categories that are covered, most of which we will cover below.
Scoring Categories: “Overall Visual Appeal” (10 Points)
- Firstly, the appearance of cannabis can provide clues about its quality. The visual assessment can give judges an idea of the flower’s maturity, colour, trichome development, and overall structure. These are all factors that can influence the potency, aroma, and flavour of the cannabis. Oily residue on pre-rolls from potent cannabis and a consistent shape are good signs that the cannabis inside is of high quality and attention to detail was put into the production.
- Secondly, the visual assessment can help judges identify any visual defects or inconsistencies that could affect the overall quality of the product. For example, mould or mildew can negatively impact the flavour and safety of cannabis.
Factors Considered in Appearance Scoring
Scoring Categories: “Aroma Pungency” & “Aroma Pleasantness” (20 Points)
Factors Considered in Aroma Scoring
Aroma pungency refers to the intensity or strength of the smell, often indicating the concentration of terpenes and other aromatic compounds. A more pungent aroma may suggest a higher terpene content, which could contribute to the strain’s flavour profile, potency, and potential therapeutic effects. Pungency can also be a sign of proper cultivation, curing, and storage, helping to preserve the terpenes and essential oils in cannabis.
Aroma pleasantness, on the other hand, relates to the subjective appeal of the scent. A pleasant aroma often enhances the user’s overall experience, making the strain more enjoyable and potentially more marketable. Additionally, pleasantness can provide insights into the specific terpene profile of the strain, which may be associated with particular effects or therapeutic benefits.
Note on Aroma
During an aroma assessment, judges may identify contaminants or improperly cured cannabis by detecting unusual or off-putting odours. A mouldy or musty smell could suggest the presence of mould or mildew, while a chemical or harsh odour might indicate pesticide or fertilizer residue.
A good competition judge is able to identify these off putting aromas and discern them from other good cannabis aromas. For example, many people who do not enjoy cannabis will complain when weed smells like skunk. Cannabis users on the other hand tend to love the smell of skunks…
Scoring Categories: “Ash Color and Structure “, “Does Aroma Translate to Taste” & “Smoking Experience” (30 Points)
- Ash color and structure are important because they can indicate how well the cannabis has been flushed, cured, and dried. Properly processed cannabis typically produces white or light grey ash, while darker ash may suggest residual impurities, such as nutrients or pesticides, which could affect the smoking experience and overall product quality.
- Evaluating whether the aroma translates to taste helps judges assess the strain’s flavor profile and harmony between scent and taste. A strong correlation between the two can indicate a well-cultivated and properly cured product.
- Lastly, assessing the overall smoking experience allows judges to gauge factors such as whether the smoke is smooth or harsh. A smooth, enjoyable smoking experience may contribute to the strain’s marketability and therapeutic potential.
Factors Considered in Burn Scoring
Scoring Categories: “Effects Experience”, “Overall Enjoyment” (20 Points)
An effects assessment evaluates the impact of a cannabis strain on the user, considering factors such as potency, onset, duration, and the specific physical and mental experiences induced. A well-executed effects assessment is crucial for determining a strain’s therapeutic potential, recreational appeal, and overall quality.
While this is one of the more subjective scoring categories, by polling a large number of judges, competitions like ours are able to determine market potential and general preferences of cannabis consumers on a whole.
Factors Considered in Effects Scoring
In conclusion, the Karma Cup cannabis competition utilizes a comprehensive scoring system to evaluate various aspects of each competing entry, from appearance and aroma to burn quality and effects. With a panel of 5,000 judges scoring each entry blindly and basing the competition on a cumulative point system, the Karma Cup aims to determine the highest quality cannabis products in an objective manner.
Visit your local cannabis retailer today and let the exceptional aromas, flavors, and effects of these award-winning strains elevate your cannabis experience to new heights. Don’t wait – supplies are limited and these sought-after judging kits are sure to sell out fast!
Read More About Us...
A Karma trophy is more than a mark of quality. Simply competing is a statement to the industry. Beyond product promotion, a win from this cannabis cup is a recognition of your commitment to the consumer.
Fine cannabis goes beyond THC percentages. Our judges are educated consumers who look to more deeply understand quality, effects, and how to make informed choices.
For 10 seasons we’ve been connecting connoisseurs and industry professionals. Everything we do at The Karma Cup is cannabis culture centred on cultivating community.
We value fun, objectivity, and fairness. Everything we do is led by our desire to have a better cannabis industry in Canada.
Our legacy-to-legal story began in 2014 and has grown to become a legendary force in cannabis. For a decade we’ve been uniting industry and enthusiasts to celebrate cannabis.
We are female-founded, and have been committed to promoting a vibrant and diverse Cannabis industry from the very beginning.