company - education - coffee

Monday, December 11, 2006

Defintion: The Sommelier

"A sommelier (pronounced /sɔməˈlje/ or suh-mal-'yAy), or wine steward, is a trained and knowledgeable wine professional, commonly working in fine restaurants, who specializes in all facets of wine service. The role is more specialised and informed than that of a wine waiter." -Wikipedia

When will such a thing exist in coffee? A culinary professional on par with a Chef de Cuisine. The first proclaimed tea sommelier happened only around a decade ago. Will such a title apply to a coffee professional in the near future? Someone to help tweak every little flavor from each varietal. A trained professional who understands all aspects of production well enough to be considered a master.
How far away from this are we in coffee?

There are great barista working with a single blend, but few work with enough different espresso/coffees to build a good understanding of different roast styles, origins, and varied extraction methods. Many of the most elite have only ever worked with one roaster consistently and would be hard pressed to adjust to or even simply accept different styles to get the most form a coffee.

Especially as all these new Cup of Excellence coffees come out and change the true specialty market, how can we as consumers keep up without someone to help us get the most from these coffees?

The Coffee Sommelier, the pro who can speak with conviction and passion about flavors in the cup and then serve it with skill.

It's a nice concept.