Coffee Journal Tips

As we discussed in a previous article, keeping a coffee journal is an excellent way to keep track of your favorite coffee brews and blends, as well as force yourself to expand your coffee horizons. In this quick blog post, we will discuss some tips to help maximize your coffee journal’s effectiveness.

Stepping outside of our comfort zones can be difficult, but once we do, we are often rewarded through some unique experience that grows us as a person – or in the case of coffee drinkers – our taste buds. There is an old saying (or at least there should be): you never know how good a cup of coffee is until you have a bad cup.

Keeping a coffee journal forces us to try new coffee types and adds another dimension to our enjoyment and coffee drinking experience. We usually tend to take coffee for granted, and keeping a journal is a great way to really break down the experience and appreciate every aspect of our favorite cup of Joe.

So how exactly do you keep a coffee journal? While each journal is different, there are some basic criteria that we suggest you follow. For starters, you should always (when possible) carry your journal with you – you never know when you might decide to grab a cup when you are out and about.

The first thing you will want to note about your coffee is the date and location of where you purchased it. Noting the time might be helpful as well, as you may find a deviation between different shifts if you decide to try the same cup again at a later date.

Next, write down the name and brand specifics. If you added anything to your coffee (cream, sugar, and so forth), write that down as well. Some purists may say to try the coffee before adding anything to it and make notations then, but it is up to you if you pursue this method.

Take a deep breath of your coffee and note the aroma and different smells. How would you describe the scent of the brewed coffee? What notes do you detect? Are their earthy smells, nuttiness, or cocoa overtones? Try to be as specific as possible – if you smell a chocolate tone, would you say it is milk or dark?

Next, take a sip of the coffee and let it sit in your mouth for a moment. What is the texture of the liquid? Is there any bitterness? What degree of bitterness do you detect? What flavors stand out to you? Jot all of this information down.

Finally, you will want to score your coffee. You can come up with your own scoring system, or follow some of the various coffee scoring guides online. One method is to assign each category a numeric value, then divide that buy the number of categories for an average score.

Another great idea is to follow coffee cupping guidelines when journaling about coffee. This type of “coffee tasting” is much more complex than typical coffee drinkers are used to, but will really awaken you to a whole new world of coffee flavors and experiences.