Coffee tasters taste coffee samples in order to evaluate the features of the product or to prepare blending formulas. They determine the product’s grade, estimate its market value, and explore how these products may appeal to different consumer tastes. They write blending formulas for workers who prepare coffee products for commercial purposes.
The following job titles also refer to coffee taster:
coffee drinks taster
coffee tasting expert
coffee tasting specialist
coffee beverage taster
A High school diploma is generally required to work as a coffee taster.
ISCO skill level
ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:
- the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
- the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
- the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.
Coffee taster is a Skill level 2 occupation.
Coffee taster career path
These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to coffee taster.
Long term prospects
These occupations require some skills and knowledge of coffee taster. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of coffee taster with a significant experience and/or extensive training.
Essential knowledge and skills
This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of coffee taster.
- Types of coffee beans: Most known coffee types, Arabica and Robusta, and the cultivars under each one of those types.
- Temperature scales: Celsius and Fahrenheit temperature scales.
- Food and beverage industry: The respective industry and the processes involved in the food and beverage industry, such as raw material selection, processing, packaging, and storage.
- Coffee characteristics: The origins and types of coffee and the processes of coffee preparation, production and trade.
Essential skills and competences
These skills are necessary for the role of coffee taster.
- Tolerate strong smells: Tolerate strong smells expelled by the goods being processed during the production of goods.
- Perform sensory evaluation: Evaluate the quality of a given type of food or beverage based on its appearance, smell, taste, aroma, and others. Suggest possible improvements and comparisons with other products.
- Check processing parameters: Check processing parameters to keep under control the technological processes.
- Perform coffee tastings: Perform coffee tastings and coffee demonstrations whether for improving the product in the production process or for showcasing the final product. Taste coffee to objectively evaluate its quality.
- Apply HACCP: Apply regulations regarding manufacture of food and food safety compliance. Employ food safety procedures based on Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP).
- Boil water: Boil water in large quantities in the context of manufacturing or food production (e.g. almond blanching).
- Create coffee flavour profiles: Creates coffee flavour profiles based on the characteristics perceived from the coffee such as coffee’s body, fragrance/aroma, acidity, bitterness, sweetness, and aftertaste/finish.
- Evaluate coffee characteristics: Analyse and evaluate coffee taste sensations including the coffee’s body, aroma, acidity, bitterness, sweetness, and finish.
- Prepare specialised coffee: Prepare coffee using specialised methods and equipment. Ensure a high quality preparation process.
- Educate customers on coffee varieties: Instruct customers about origins, characteristics, differences in flavours and blends of coffee products.
- Apply requirements concerning manufacturing of food and beverages: Apply and follow national, international, and internal requirements quoted in standards, regulations and other specifications related with manufacturing of food and beverages.
- Apply GMP: Apply regulations regarding manufacture of food and food safety compliance. Employ food safety procedures based on Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).
- Grade coffee beans: Grade coffee beans based on their characteristics, defects, size, colour, moisture content, taste, acidity, body, or aroma.
Optional skills and competences
These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of coffee taster. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Communicate with customers: Respond to and communicate with customers in the most efficient and appropriate manner to enable them to access the desired products or services, or any other help they may require.
- Act reliably: Proceed in a way that one can be relied on or depended on.
- Find new types of food & beverages: Be eager and interested in exploring the economic market to find new or less familiar types of food & beverages.
- Analyse trends in the food and beverage industries: Investigate trends in foodstuffs related to consumers preferences. Examine key markets based on both product type and geography as well as technological improvements in the industry.
- Perform public relations: Perform public relations (PR) by managing the spread of information between an individual or an organisation and the public.
- Maintain food specifications: Preserve, review, and evaluate existing food specifications such as recipes.
- Liaise with colleagues: Liaise with fellow colleagues to ensure common understanding on work related affairs and agree on the necessary compromises the parties might need to face. Negotiate compromises between parties as to ensure that work in general run efficiently towards the achievement of the objectives.
- Have computer literacy: Utilise computers, IT equipment and modern day technology in an efficient way.
- Analyse characteristics of food products at reception: Analyse characteristics, composition, and other properties of food products at reception.
- Liaise with managers: Liaise with managers of other departments ensuring effective service and communication, i.e. sales, planning, purchasing, trading, distribution and technical.
- Label samples: Label raw material/ product samples for laboratory checks, according to implemented quality system.
ISCO group and title
7515 – Food and beverage tasters and graders
- Coffee taster – ESCO