Greetings from the Keurig Store!
We are right in the middle of our President’s Day Sale which we’ve extended to the end of the month. To kick off our Sale, last week, we had a coffee education and tasting right at the Burlington Mall. Our very own Craig Johnston, Manager from the Green Mountain Coffee Visitor Center in Waterbury , VT, came down to the store to help facilitate.
There are over 1000 Q Graders certified by the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI), and Craig happens to be one of 40 currently employed by Keurig Green Mountain!
What’s a Q Grader you ask? … I’m so glad you did.
The short answer: a licensed Q Grader is one who is certified to evaluate and grade certain types of coffee. A Q Grader identifies characteristics in coffee quality such as flavor, acidity, aftertaste, body, and balance (among others), through a process called cupping. The cupping procedure calls for Q Graders tasting from the same coffee, across 4 different cups, ground from 10 ounces of coffee beans per cup. A truly comprehensive process because just one bad bean, can change the flavor profile of the whole cup! For the long answer, and to find more information about the Q Coffee™ System check out the CQi’s website (coffeeinstitute.org).
Sure, the professionals have fancy equipment, like coffee bean scales, aroma free rooms, and water purification systems; but it’s easy to hone your coffee taste buds at home!
The Specially Coffee Association of America (SCAA) is a great resource for finding out more information. We suggest checking out the Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel to help guide and categorize all the different tastes/aromas you experience when drinking coffee.
A few tips for a home:
- Experience the aroma of the coffee. First by enjoying the fragrance of the dry grounds before you add water; and second after the water has been added. (Hot water causes the volatile organic materials found in coffee to change to a gas)
- Now we taste! Once it is at a comfortable temperature for you, use a spoon to aspirate, or slurp, the coffee at a high rate to spray your entire tongue. This will also aerate the coffee and thereby creating vapors that will draw into your nasal cavity. Think about taste, body, mouth feel, acidity, aftertaste, and overall experience.
- Repeat these tasting techniques once the coffee has cooled to gain the entire picture and journey that your coffee has taken. Sweetness, aroma, acidity, may have subtly changed.
- Most importantly, there is no wrong answer! Everyone has a separate and unique experience when tasting coffee that is just as valid as those you are with.
If you need some help choosing which Keurig Brewed® beverage to try, check out our website, and you can easily search through various selections, including: Fair Trade, Organic, and Rain Forest Certified.
As always, stop on over to the Keurig Store at the Burlington Mall in Burlington, MA, so we can talk coffee ( and other Keurig Brewed® beverages) with you!