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We all love coffee and drink it almost every day… well hopefully …. but the way we define the quality of that cup is all up to our sensory department.

At the Artisan Coffee School we are serious about education and believe that learning never ends. We decided to extend our knowledge and sit through the SCA sensory modules to take our skills to the next level. So, you may be wondering what it’s all about and who it may be beneficial for. I decided to break it up for you in simple terms so that you can see exactly what each module is about and hopefully you can join us on an amazing journey and train you sensory skills to take your career to the next level.

The sensory modules consist of three levels: Foundation, Intermediate and Professional. Let’s look at each module and break it down.

Sensory Foundation (1 Day Course, 5 Points)

This covers the essentials of sensory evaluation in a practical and interactive manner. It investigates the way we perceive what we taste and how to apply this knowledge when evaluating coffee’s natural characteristics. It also offers an introduction to identifying speciality coffee qualities, as well as an overview of how to implement this in business.

Some of the practical aspects of this module involve:

  • How to set up a cupping session
  • Sensory thresholds
  • How to evaluate coffee on levels of acidity, bitterness and sweetness
  • Basic aromas (Enzymatic, Sugar Browning & Dry Distillation

Sensory Intermediate (2 Day Course, 10 Points)

Intermediate is ideal for someone already working in the area who wants to develop their knowledge of sensory skills. It is broken down into three areas: How we taste, perceive and interpret; Running a cupping session and tasting the diversity of coffee; and how to set up sensory skills in your business.

Some of the practical aspects of this module involve:

  • Setting up a professional cupping table
  • Assessing the quality and intensity of coffee
  • How to pick out defects in coffee
  • Intermediate aroma training
  • Statistical analysis of coffee (differences and similarities in coffee)
  • Understanding how a professional cupping sheet works

Sensory Professional (3 Day Course, 25 Points)

Professional is aimed at people with extensive experience in the industry who wish to develop their knowledge to become sensory skills leaders in a coffee business.

Some of the practical aspects of this module involve:

  • Setting up a cupping table to a professional level
  • Team calibration (comparing team results for accurate scoring)
  • Looking for specific defects in coffee (Quakers, Roya, Foxy, Development)
  • Advanced aroma training (smelling and identifying exact aromas)
  • Identifying specific flavours within coffee (nutty, fruity, floral, spicy, chocolate etc.)
  • Assessing the intensity and quality of a variety of coffees
  • Identifying fermented and oxidised coffee
  • Scoring and judging coffee

The sensory module is designed to enrich in-depth insights to personal sensory skills and will help you confidently assess coffee on a new level. It will help you make the right decisions when brewing, accessing or even roasting coffee to ensure that you are serving the absolute best coffee possible.

Until next time, cheers for now!