Most large commercial coffee companies employer a professional ‘cupper’, or taster, or even a team of people. As coffee is an organic product and subject to variation caused by a number of factors including weather, the taster’s job is to evaluate and assess each batch for consistency, and also to assess new blends. Tasters have very sophisticated, sensitive palates, and they can differentiate between acidity, bitterness, sweetness, aroma and aftertaste to get a complete sense of the coffee flavour. As just as much of the flavour of coffee is perceived via the olfactory membranes as via the taste buds, they also need an excellent sense of smell!
To be objective, tasters have to work in surroundings that are free of any odours that might interfere with the tasting process. They’re always served with freshly-ground and freshly-brewed coffee, as this offers the maximum of fragrance, and they evaluate every part of the drink from the aroma to the crema, the fine layer of foam that sits on top, caused by the release of the natural oils in the beans. When it comes to actually tasting, the process is rather like wine tasting with the cupper swirling the drink round to release the flavours then swilling it round their mouths before finally evaluating the aftertaste.
When the process is finished, the result is the ‘tasting notes’ that appear on a retail bag of coffee – for example, a strength factor, then notes such as ‘rich, toffee notes’ or ‘well-balanced, smooth and chocolaty’. Other descriptions you might see include ‘butterscotch notes’, ‘red wine’, ‘fruity’ (especially berry or citrus notes) or ‘mellow’. There may also be more complex and delicate top notes, all of which help to give coffee its rounded flavour.
Here at the Wholesale Coffee Company, we’ve got a range of top quality beans for you to discover, all at great wholesale prices. To find out more, visit our main website.