backroom: Bird Rock Coffee Tasting Pt. 1


On our first ever backroom, we've decided to bring you along our tasting room experience at Bird Rock Coffee Roasters in La Jolla, CA. In our backroom series, we want to highlight the creative process behind the various aspects of our culture. We decided to start out with coffee and focus on the tasting process.



bird rock coffee roasters



From harvesting the coffee beans to the final product, the entire culture of coffee is more in-depth than it appears. Nowadays, coffee is something that's a quick and on-the-go solution for your daily commute, but there's a huge difference between quick-mix coffee capsules and labor-intensive coffee brewing.

We got exclusive access to Bird Rock Coffee Roaster's (let's call them BRCR for short) tasting process presented by Chuck Patton, founder and head coffee buyer.


close up shot of an old school coffee roaster and coffee roasting machinery


We get it. Sometimes coffee snobs may make you think the coffee culture is just pretentious, but let us assure you that there's real value in paying attention to the process. You can literally taste the difference.

When we walked in, we were greeted by Celia and Chuck. We walked through the brief process of tasting: grinding, sniffing, and slurping. We were lucky enough to taste the Panama Geisha Blend by BRCR, a crown jewel bean of the coffee world. It tastes like $11/cup (which it is).


bird rock coffee roasters panama coffee blend
close up of roasted whole coffee beans in a cup


We were also joined by two tasters who wanted to experience the process with us. Here you can see Chuck giving a brief overview of the tasting process and the various types of bean grades.


chuck patton of bird rock coffee roaster explaining the coffee tasting process
coffee taster during a coffee tasting process
coffee taster during a coffee tasting session


Moving onto the next step, we approach cupping. The beans are ground up to begin the next process of the tasting process. This part is known as cupping, where the taster takes the ground coffee and holds it closely to their nose in order to fully inhale the aroma of the coffee. This helps make sure of the consistency of the flavor before it's even tasted.




Making sure that there's no gaps for other smells to come through, the tasters put their nose right into the cup for maximum aroma. Hopefully they didn't snort it up.


pouring water and brewing coffee during a coffee tasting session
bloomed coffee in a cup
chuck patton the head coffee buyer smelling the aromas of the coffee


After they get a sense of the smell, it's time to move onto actually tasting the coffee. With temperature-controlled water, Chuck goes ahead and brews the coffee. During this part, you have to wait a bit for the coffee to bloom and rest.

Once he's ready, Chuck goes ahead and goes in for another sniff of the aroma while simultaneously pushing away the top layer of bloom to get the real smell of the brewed coffee. After this, he scoops out the surface ground layer and proceeds to the next step of tasting.

The tasting process isn't just a simple gulp of coffee. Taking just a small spoonful of coffee, they quickly slurp the coffee to make sure there's an even spread of flavor on the tongue's tastebuds.



explaining the different grades of coffee beans


Checking the quality of the beans

With the tasting over, the tasters are given an in-depth look at the various qualities of coffee beans you can find. For BRCR, they only deal with the highest quality to make sure their customers are satisfied.

Thanks for following us along on this quick tasting process read. A huge shout out to BRCR and Chuck for having us be a part of the experience. Hopefully you pulled out some new knowledge about the coffee culture and some new appreciation for the creative process. We wanna make sure people pay attention to the process vs. the product. Being more mindful of this creates a better understanding of culture itself.


high quality whole coffee beans in a cup
ready to serve coffee


Stay tuned for Part 2 as we created a quick film of our experience. You can keep up with us by signing up for our newsletter below.