Smell, sip, slurp, and spit…sounds like a typical wine tasting, but at Starbucks Headquarters in Seattle, it’s part of a typical day at work.
Last week I had the pleasure of being invited to spend a day to learn about the talent behind the Starbucks logo. Although I thought that a tall latte with skim milk and one pump of mocha, a cozy chair and a solid Wi-Fi connection was all I needed, my full-day immersion into what goes on behind the counter was more informative than I could have imagined. For a taste of what the company literally may have in-store for the future including their new baby, the Evolution Fresh store, just follow my series of blogs.
So let’s start your journey the way I did…with a coffee tasting. Just like the way a sommelier evaluates and appreciates a fine wine, the coffee tasters, or cuppers at Starbucks pay close attention to every aspect of that bean, from the hands that pick it to the people that savor it. Aside from being impressed by the unique design of each bag, I marveled at the thought that hundreds of cups of coffee are tasted daily, with each sip carefully judged for quality and consistency. (And in case you’re wondering, these employees, or “partners” as they are referred to, are not effected by jolts of java — spittoons are kept nearby so that the tested tastes can be savored, then spit, not swallowed.)
Many of us rely on Starbucks as a neighborhood haven, but this global company has 16,858 stores around the world. International too, is the coffee they sell, with beans derived from countries like China, Ethiopia, and of course, America, each carrying unique aromas and tastes. Here are some Starbucks’ tips to help you describe and assess your own coffee tasting experience:
- “Aroma of coffee is often described as earthy, sweet, clean, floral, fruity, winey or pungent.
- Acidity, not to be confused with bitterness, is experienced on the tongue. Coffees with high acidity tend to be described as smooth.
- Body is the tactile impression of the coffee in the mouth described as light, medium, or full.
- Flavor is the most important tasting term and refers to the total impression of taste from the characteristic lent by aroma, acidity, and body.”
So, instead of rushing through your next cup of Joe, close your eyes and take a taste of what’s really in that mug. It might be best though, to save the slurping and spitting for home…not the office!