How to Taste Coffee Like a Professional - Our Guide

Many coffee shops, enthusiasts, and customers bond over the flavor notes and profile of the coffee they drink. It is a great way to understand its origin, the effects of its farming process, and learn its roast profile. If you are interested in learning more about coffee, you should start by learning how to taste it. Here are a few professional tips so you can begin to taste coffee like a pro:

Mind your coffee's brewing method

When they need to taste and evaluate coffees, many coffee professionals follow a technical procedure called cupping. Cuppings are not only enjoyed by professionals but are slowly being introduced to the public. That is because it is one of the best ways to understand coffee and its flavors. 

The Specialty Coffee Association has a format that coffee lovers follow while they have their cupping sessions. It involves writing down the flavor notes you taste after three rounds, the coffee's body and aftertaste, its acidity, and its overall complexities. 

If you cannot join a cupping session, you can still practice tasting coffee by drinking pour-overs or asking for coffee flights. Pour-overs, or filter coffee, bring out the delicate flavors of the beans. It is a simple way of tasting coffee because it only involves water, time, and temperature. 

When tasting espresso, you need to remember that because the pressure from the machine is a factor, it may alter your coffee's taste and mouthfeel. However, it gives your coffee a distinct character that you cannot get from pour-overs and cupping sessions.

Smell your coffee ground and after it is brewed

A lot of the experience you get from your cup involves the aromas you get from your coffee. The aromas give you an idea of how your coffee may taste like and its characteristics.

It is best to smell the coffee beans, after they ground, while you are preparing your coffee, and right before your first sip. You will notice the change of aromas as coffee interacts with the water and its temperature. 

Taste and evaluate your coffee every time you take a sip

The great thing about coffee is that it will not taste the same the whole time. Every time you take a sip of your coffee, you can distinguish flavors, acidity, body, and even aftertaste. After a while, when you take another sip, you will notice that some characteristics have changed. 

It is best to enjoy your coffee with the flavors presented by roaster so that you have a better understanding of what you may be tasting. When you are starting with coffee, identifying flavors may be quite tricky. That is why it is best to learn about the coffee you are tasting by researching the coffee or talking to the barista or even the coffee roaster. 

Evaluate the overall experience and flavors of your coffee

Now that you are done with your coffee cup, you should properly evaluate the flavors you tasted and understand the overall cup experience. 

When you sit down and understand the changes of flavors your coffee has gone through over time, you can better understand its characteristics and complexities. Ask yourself questions like: 

  • Was it a harmonious cup?
  • Did the flavors and acidity blend well?
  • Is it a balanced cup, or was it too complex?


Tasting coffee for the first time while being aware of its flavors and complexities may be overwhelming because of all the factors to consider. When you have tried coffee from different origins, you can expand your palate and avoid being preferential to taste. That will make you more open about the different flavors of coffee from all over the world, ultimately making you taste coffee like a professional.

Cafe Joe is a coffee company that produces high-quality coffee products, such as Nespresso and Keurig-compatible coffee capsules. We believe that everybody deserves to have great coffee at home. Check out our products and place some orders today!

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