Kaffeesommelier bei der Arbeit

Coffee sommelier & barista: beans, roasting and special mugs

6. December 2019

What does a coffee sommelier actually do? And how is it different from being a barista? Whereas previously people just drank classic filter coffee without many frills, we are now in the midst of a real coffee revolution. Coffee is now available in various different varieties and everyone has their own personal favourite coffee drink. International influences have also shaped the way we drink coffee today.

Then there are also the experts amongst coffee drinkers: coffee sommeliers and baristas are trained coffee experts. But what do these two terms actually mean? In this blog post we explain the difference between coffee sommeliers and baristas, how they vet different coffee beans and the best way to serve different speciality coffees in the catering industry.

What is the difference between a coffee sommelier and a barista?

The fact that these two job titles are commonly confused may be due to the fact that many coffee sommeliers have also completed training as a barista. Nevertheless, there are clear differences in their roles and areas of expertise. Coffee sommeliers assess the taste and quality of the raw coffee product, focus on the coffee bean and judge the roasting, aroma, taste and smell. These coffee experts differentiate between mouthfeel and aftertaste and practise identifying the taste of individual components and describing them – just like a wine sommelier. They concentrate on how the coffee is produced from the raw material. A sommelier has to know how and where the coffee is grown and processed. Training to become a coffee sommelier involves learning about the whole process, from cultivation to preparation. Coffee tasting, also known as coffee cupping, is a key part of their job. 

coffee sommelier: table with coffee paraphernalia

A barista is an expert in coffee-making in a restaurant or café. They therefore work directly with customers and prepare speciality coffees. The term originally comes from Italian, where being a barista is a trained profession and includes serving all kinds of drinks. In Germany there are no uniform standards for barista training.

coffee sommelier pouring coffee into a cup

To produce a really good coffee, you need both experts. Quality coffee cannot be achieved through beans and roasting alone. Careful preparation and serving is needed to unfold the perfect aroma.

Different coffee types – the basics:

To give you a quick insight into specialist coffee know-how, we’ve put together a chart showing the main types of coffee. It also shows the best way to serve each coffee, i.e. the size and type of mug, cup or glass.

overview over different coffee types for coffee sommeliers

Learning from coffee sommeliers & baristas: what is the best way to serve coffee?

Different types of coffee should not only differ in their preparation and taste, but they also require different serving methods. Tafelstern always bases its product range on the latest trends and develops special solutions for restaurateurs, which add a special touch to their coffee sales and bring out the flavours of the speciality coffees. The current COFFEE TASTING collection is also specifically designed so that all of the pieces can be combined with each other and used together on a mix-and-match basis. Volume, mouthfeel when drinking from the rim and the surface texture of the cups and glasses were all important considerations when designing these innovative products.

You can find all the products from the COFFEE TASTING collection here.

coffee sommelier: table with coffee set prepared on it
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