The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) will present the United States Taster’s Championship in Atlanta, April 16-19, in conjunction with its annual exposition. This is the first time a national coffee tasting competition has been held in the U.S. using guidelines from the World Cup Taster’s Championship (WCTC). The winner in Atlanta will represent the United States at the WCTC in Cologne, Germany, June 25-28, 2009.

The WCTC was created to promote the concept of quality coffee, educate and motivate professional coffee tasters around the world, and recognize their skill as on par with wine tasters.

Competitors are presented with eight sets of three-cups, or “triangles,” where two cups are identical. Competitors are asked to identify the one cup that is different, testing their ability to smell, taste, recall, and concentrate on the task at hand against the clock. The competitor with the most correct answers in the shortest amount of time is the champion.

“Professional coffee tasters must have highly refined palettes to navigate the complexity of flavors found in coffee,” says Ric Rhinehart, executive director of the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA). “It is well past time that we not only recognize their skills as equal to those found in other industries where taste is paramount, but also let consumers know about this important segment within our industry and celebrate their value.”