The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
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Coffee is something most people consume every day, often due to the morning caffeine boost or habit. However, many people do not fully appreciate the coffee they drink nor the process of tasting it, simply guzzling it down before work and trying not to burn one’s tongue in the process. While appreciating the taste of the coffee we drink may seem like some esoteric or overly sophisticated ritual that the layman cannot fathom, this need not be the case at all. Furthermore, while coffee may be consumed in others’ company, it often becomes just a little side part of the conversation at a coffee shop, which entails something completely unrelated. While most people are familiar with wine tastings, coffee tastings may seem unfamiliar and unheard of. Nonetheless, with all of this information in mind, the following are three tips to enjoy a coffee tasting show, even if it happens to be your very first one.
The first tip to enjoy a coffee tasting show, even if it happens to be your very first one, is to be ready to learn. A coffee tasting should not just be a place to drink whatever coffee is put on the table. Instead, it should be a chance to learn as much about each type of coffee as one can. This includes listening to the baristas as they tell you the story behind each cup, carefully savoring each sip, and seeing how each cup is distinct from or similar to the others. This enables you to be present in the event and to walk away armed with knowledge and a new understanding that can help you better discern what coffee is best suited to your palate in the future rather than just saturating it with as much caffeine as possible.
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The second tip to enjoy a coffee tasting show is to be knowledgeable about coffee, even if it happens to be your first one. This may include a quick review of some basic coffee-tasting vocabulary to get more out of the experience and add some value during the tasting process. Also, understanding the stories behind where the coffee beans come from and the different roasts and blends give a more significant and deeper appreciation for the coffee that is all too easy to take for granted. You may go into an event not knowing the difference between a kona coffee blend from Hawaii and, say, a Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee blend, only to come out of one, never seeing the two as interchangeable again.
The third and final tip to enjoy a coffee tasting show is to socialize and have some fun, even if it happens to be your first one. A coffee tasting show allows you to interact with like-minded individuals, pick the baristas’ brains, and engage in the simple pleasure of coffee consumption. While it is certainly not recommended to go into such an event without putting any effort to learn something new about coffee, neither is it advisable to go in completely deaf to the people around you. The event should neither be treated as a boring seminar nor a generic social occasion. A coffee tasting show is both an informative and social experience and should be enjoyed as such.
Tasting coffee can be a refreshing and enjoyable occasion for any part of the day, whether consumed and savored by oneself or in the company of others. This can be done in the safety and comfort of one’s very own home, the intimacy of someone else’s house, or in public at a coffee shop with friends or a coffee tasting event with like-minded strangers. However, all too often, coffee becomes a means to an end: caffeine shot to keep oneself awake and alert to handle the daily duties ahead. It is worth slowing things down, being mindful of and genuinely enjoying the coffee you taste, taking in not only the caffeine but also the story behind where the coffee comes from and how it made it from the coffee bean to the cup you may be drinking right now. A coffee-tasting event can let you do this and learn something new.