What happens at a coffee tasting?

Zoe | March 22, 2022

Are you thinking about getting a coffee machine and improving your team’s experience at work? If so, read on, because one of the decisions you’ll make first is what coffee to try.

With so many types of beans and blends, get ready to be transported into a new world of coffee, discovering different flavours and aromas.

The first benefit you’re going to get from having a bean to cup coffee machine in the office is that you’ll get the freshest tasting coffee. The longer coffee beans have been ground, the more flavour is lost. So literally grinding the beans right there and then, means you’ll get only the best and freshest cup of coffee. If you’re a facilities or office manager, part of your job is to keep everyone happy in the office. Your aim will be to find the perfect selection of great tasting coffees so you have something for everyone.

How do I choose which coffee is right for me?

Of course, the taste will be one of your key factors in deciding which coffee to get for the office. But there are also lots of other considerations including price, quality and variety. For example, some machines have just one hopper and others have dual hoppers meaning you can have two different types of coffee from the same machine. Opting for a dual hopper, you’re giving your team a choice so you could have two different beans, create blends or offer a decaf version.

And naturally, your choice of coffee will depend on what budget you have to work with as the quality of your coffee will be reflected in the cost. So like anything, if you choose a premium coffee, you’ll get a better quality, better-tasting coffee but you’ll be paying more.

What to do at a coffee tasting?

The main thing in a coffee tasting is to have fun. Take the time to try different coffees and consider what’s not just right for you based on your personal preference, but what your team will think about it. For this reason, it’s a good idea to bring a couple of colleagues with you. If that’s not possible, consider asking your team what they look for in a coffee. You could even do a quick survey to better understand what your team wants.

Your coffee tasting session is likely to be put on by whatever coffee machine supplier you choose. Our team at FreshGround encourage our potential customers to join us at our London showroom for what we call a ‘Discovery’ session. In our showroom, we have a great range of office coffee machines to try out and you can taste all of our coffees.

We’ve developed a really handy colour-coded strength guide for our range of coffee. The guide goes from light, floral flavours, to deeper chocolate and nutty, all the way up to more intense and smoky flavours.

Is coffee cupping the same as coffee tasting?

You might have heard the term ‘coffee cupping’ if you’ve been looking up information on a coffee tasting session. This cupping procedure involves deeply sniffing the coffee, slurping the coffee from a spoon so it’s aerated and then spread across the tongue. It’s more of a professional practice that’s carried out by what’s known as Q-Graders. Each coffee is graded based on a number of criteria. If you’re interested in finding out more, head to the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) website. You can also check out the iconic SCA Flavor Wheel which forms the largest and most collaborative piece of research on coffee flavour ever completed. In short, though, we don’t tend to take you through this journey (unless requested), but rather focus on providing a simple and fun tasting session that’ll involve trying coffees from the machine.

What should I look for in a coffee tasting session?

If you’re heading to a coffee tasting hosted by your office coffee machine supplier, it should be more relaxed and simply focus on the coffees you and your team will enjoy. There are some key things to look for in coffee tastings – these include the obvious elements such as flavour, aroma, etc, however also important may be other factors such as the noise of the machine, simplicity for the user and getting a machine that’s easy to maintain.

We’ll explain more about what to explore in your session…

Flavour and aroma – when tasting coffee, think about what the flavours and aroma remind you of. Are you picking up notes of chocolate, a smoky aroma or berries for example?

Acidity – do you notice the acidity when you’re drinking the coffee? Acidity isn’t a bad thing but it comes down to personal preference. If you’re looking for a coffee that will be widely enjoyed in the office, you’re probably best to choose a lower acidity option that doesn’t overwhelm the senses.

Sweetness and bitterness – these are two other aspects to consider when coffee tasting. And again, if you’re looking for a crowd-pleasing coffee, you’re probably best to stick to a coffee that’s balanced and not too sweet or bitter.

Body – often referred to as mouth-feel, body is how the coffee feels on the palate. Does it feel heavy and full or light and smooth?

Aftertaste – exactly as the name suggests, what does the coffee taste like after you’ve finished drinking. Does it end fast or does it linger and last a long time?

How do I choose my office coffee?

During a ‘Discovery’ session, you should be walking away with a good understanding of the coffees you enjoy, and what you think your team will love. These sessions are best done in showrooms that are equipped with all the office coffee machines, however, our team will often go to offices as well. We’ll bring a coffee machine with us so you can still try a whole range of coffee – this often allows more of the office team to get involved which can be helpful in the selection process. We can also carry out tastings on video calls. Many of us may have experienced this hybrid approach to trialling and exploring new products, particularly during lockdown. This option can be a great choice particularly if one of the team is WFH or can’t travel.

We can help

Initially, we tend to recommend trying out a few different blends for the office. There’s nothing better than when the team is super-enthused with the taste of the coffee! Also, our coffee machine contracts start from as little 3 months giving you plenty of leeway to change or cancel your plan for any reason. You can find out more about our coffee contracts in this blog. Plus, you can view our full range of coffee online, or give us a call to book a Discovery session and give your team the office coffee experience they deserve!