Coffee Tasting Techniques

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Coffee Tasting Techniques

Coffee tasting techniques can really enrich your appreciation for the bean. Professional coffee tasters (yes, some people get to make their living tasting coffee) used a standard set of coffee tasting techniques that ensure a consistent rating of different coffees. Of course, you don't have to use professional-level coffee tasting techniques at home to sample different coffees, But you can adapt them for your own use.

Coffee tasting techniques can really enrich your appreciation for the bean. Professional coffee tasters (yes, some people get to make their living tasting coffee) used a standard set of coffee tasting techniques that ensure a consistent rating of different coffees. 

And tasting coffee using these coffee tasting techniques can greatly expand your knowledge of coffee and why certain coffees taste better. Here are the coffee tasting techniques the professionals use, adapted for home use:

  1. Start by setting out one glass and one cup for each type of coffee you will be tasting. Write the type of coffee on a sticky note and place it on the bottom of the cup so you know what you were tasting later on.
  2. Measure the beans. A good rule of thumb: .46 ounces (12 grams) of coffee for each 6.5 oz. of boiled water is adhering to established coffee tasting techniques.
  3. Proper coffee tasting techniques require that you use fresh, filtered water. Do not use tap water when cupping coffee.
  4. Grind your coffee, then pour it into the cup. Be sure you clean the grinder between grinds so there isn’t any cross contamination.
  5. Smell the coffee. This is one of the important coffee tasting techniques as it allows you to make notes about the smell of each sample before water is introduced. Write down any impressions you get.
  6. Once the water comes to a boil, remove it from the heat. Let it set 25 seconds before you pour. Start with from left to right (assuming the first coffee you ground is on the far left).
  7. This is one of the most important coffee tasting techniques. Pour the water slowly over the grounds in the first cup. Start a timer. Professional coffee tasting techniques require that you let four minutes pass before you go to the next step.
  8. Time to sample. By now there's a crust of grounds on the top of the sample cup. Take you spoon and puncture the crust. Get your nose down into the cup and inhale. Proper coffee tasting techniques call for you to start at the side of the cup closest to you, slowly dragging the spoon to the back as the grounds are pushed aside.
  9. Do this for each cup. Do not use the same spoon. If there are more than one of you perfecting your coffee tasting techniques, each one should repeat this step as they move down the line.

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  • Bill McClure
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