Here's What Happens At A Professional Coffee Tasting

man dipping spoon in coffee at coffee tasting
man dipping spoon in coffee at coffee tasting - Edwin Tan /Getty Images

If you're a coffee fiend who loves to brew their own cup of joe at home or knows every café in the neighborhood, it's about time you became more acquainted with your favorite beverage and booked a professional coffee tasting. Professional tastings of any kind can be a bit intimidating, but arm yourself with the knowledge of what happens at a coffee tasting, and you'll be prepared to taste like a pro. Remember, though, that you're mostly there to enjoy the coffee and have fun!

A coffee tasting is usually run by a trained and knowledgeable coffee professional at a coffee shop or roasting location. They will prepare multiple cups of coffee for you to try. Sometimes, the tasting will be themed around coffee from a certain region of the world, or feature a specific coffee brand's best brews. Your guide will tell you all about each coffee and the brewing methods used, usually providing bean samples as well to paint a full picture. You'll use taste and smell to sample the different types of coffee and are free to ask questions, or describe your tasting experience. And if you liked what you tried, there's usually an option to purchase the coffee beans, ground or whole, to continue enjoying at home! Coffee tastings are usually laid back, but they are sometimes run like the more detail-oriented method of tasting coffee, also known as coffee cupping.

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Breaking Down Coffee Cupping

woman smelling coffee at coffee cupping
woman smelling coffee at coffee cupping - Primipil/Getty Images

Coffee cupping is a tasting method used in the professional coffee world to properly smell, taste, and score different coffees. Industry judges use guidelines to score coffee based on several important components, such as aroma or mouthfeel. They add up the scores from each component, and give each coffee a final rating that determines its monetary value in the coffee market. When you attend a tasting, you don't have to worry about scoring your coffee, as you're simply there to enjoy, but you may encounter the same methods of tasting that these professionals use.

The main distinction between attending a coffee cupping and a regular tasting is that in coffee cupping, hot water is simply poured over a small sample of each type of coffee bean. No one's making you a nice latte here — you just get to smell and taste the coffee bean purely for what it is, as no brewing methods are allowed in coffee cupping. You get to take in and enjoy the bean's aroma as you wait for it to steep for a few minutes. Then, you'll stir up the grounds for an even stronger aroma before they sink to the bottom of the cup. Now you're ready to taste!

How To Properly Taste Coffee For Yourself

coffee beans and cup of coffee
coffee beans and cup of coffee - Filmstax/Getty Images

After all that information from your guide and smelling each bean, you do indeed get to taste the coffee when you attend a professional coffee tasting or cupping. You can simply sip away, comparing and contrasting each coffee for yourself. Alternatively, take a page from the pros and get ready to slurp. Slurping is a tasting method that is self-explanatory — you slurp the coffee up to fully experience every element of the coffee, and get the best sense of its smell and taste. When you decide to attend a professional coffee tasting, you'll likely receive some more specific pointers from the roaster, barista, or other coffee professional running the tasting.

There are various tasting events out there to fit every experience level and social style. However, keep in mind that you should generally keep your opinions to yourself until prompted to share, so as not to impact the experience of other tasters. That being said, if you'd rather skip the actual tasting and sample different coffees at home, focus on smelling the coffee first, tasting it, and then writing down or verbalizing the tastes and notes you pick up on. But get out there and research a professional coffee tasting that suits your interests — you'll be surprised just how much there is to learn!

Read the original article on Daily Meal.