When a coffee is considered one the best types of coffee, many coffee drinkers can infer that there is someone out there that judges and rates coffees. Many may wonder if there actually are people who taste coffee for a living. In short, yes, there are people whose job it is to taste and rate coffees. Professional coffee tasters work off a criteria when analyzing coffee when rating it. This is done so that one professional coffee taster can have a similar result to another professional coffee taster instead of just saying, “I like this one a lot, this other is my favorite, and I don’t like this one very much,” which isn’t an objective way to rate coffees.
Acidity is probably the most important characteristic of coffee and perhaps the most distinguishable. Body is another part of coffee that is tested and this is the “texture” of the coffee and it is tasted. The aroma is also an important part of the testing and ranking of coffee. The oils and compounds in coffee let off a smell and this is called the aroma. It is important for a coffee to have a good aroma to be ranked highly. The flavor of the coffee is also measured and is made up of a combination of the acidity, body, and aroma, but these aren’t the only factors that make up the flavor. The flavor of different coffees may be sweet, bitter, sour, spicy, or even salty depending on the compounds that make up the coffee.
The job of a professional coffee tester is to try different coffees and let the producers of the coffee know what they should change to make a better coffee. A coffee taster must love coffee and also have a keen nose and ability to taste. Many coffee tasters start their work in coffee houses and move on from there. The expectations of coffee testers is high as they often test up to 300 cups of coffee per day. The coffee industry actually is in demand of coffee tasters, so those would be interested in this type of career have a good chance at being successful.
The coffee tasting process involved something known as “cupping.” Cupping is the process in which coffee is tested and involves smelling the coffee, swishing it in the mouth, and finally spitting it out. When this is done coffee tasters can get an idea of the acidity, body, aroma, and flavor of the coffee which allows them to rate it.