How to Host a Coffee Tasting

Cups of Organic coffee on a bright tablecloth

Tasting coffee is a full sensory experience, from the moment you grind your freshly roasted coffee through to your last sip.  This guide (written by our Coffee Quality Control Manager, Beth Ann Caspersen) will show you how to hold your own coffee tasting to celebrate the hard work of the coffee producers who grow these special beans. 

What do you need?

Brewing your coffee is quick and easy! All you need is the coffee of your choice, coffee grinder, fresh filtered water, your favorite coffee brewing device and ceramic mugs to savor the delicious flavor. (Look to our brewing guide for tips and advice on preparing the perfect cup of coffee).

For the optimal coffee tasting experience, use ceramic mugs or thick glass cups with a wide mouth. This will allow the participants to enjoy the aroma of the coffee and their experience with the coffee. The natural elements you find in a cup of coffee can be best experienced if they are unadulterated, too — in other words, try the coffee black first and follow our lead on your tasting experience (but feel free to add milk and sugar at the end of the tasting)!

Step 1: Savor the Aroma

Once you have brewed your coffee, fill each person’s cup halfway and pass out the mugs.  We recommend using ceramic mugs to enhance your experience, and filling the mug halfway will allow the coffee to cool down quickly and provide everyone with ample space to fully appreciate the aroma.

Now encourage everyone to place their hands around their mug and inhale all that the coffee has to offer. Take a moment to think about the aromas you are experiencing.  What do you smell? Does the aroma remind you of something?  A different food or drink?

Step 2: Take a Sip

As the coffee begins to cool, continue to smell it and take a sip.  Now ask the participants about their experience. What does the coffee taste like now?  What are some of the flavors you are enjoying?

Before you reveal the flavor notes we’ve noticed, explore the many characteristics the coffee has to offer by using the Specialty Coffee Association coffee taster’s flavor wheel to help guide your conversation.  It’s fun and really helps everyone to learn about the complex world of coffee.

Step 3: Reveal the Flavors

After you taste the coffee for a few minutes and guide the conversation, reveal the flavor notes we find in the coffee, which are listed on the online product page. How was your tasting experience similar or different?

Explore our full line of coffees and taste them all! Comment below to share your coffee tasting experience.


  1. Almero Dreyer | 18th Jan 19

    What do you serve between the different coffees, at a coffee tasting? Cheese…, Crackers…?

    • Kate Chess | 18th Jan 19

      What a great question, Almero! Our quality control professionals here recommend a plain cracker — look for water crackers at the grocery store. These will cleanse your palate. (If you don’t care about that, fair trade chocolate is a delicious option.)

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