Coffee & Tea Testing & Analysis
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What’s Brewing: Blog & News

Coffee Analysts Promotes Gwen Russell to Tea Technologist


                      Gwen Russell – Tea Technologist

Burlington, Vermont USA, June 1, 2016

Coffee Analysts continues to increase tea testing capabilities and product expertise, and has promoted Gwen Russell to Tea Technologist to lead tea testing services.  Gwen joined Coffee Analysts in 2013 with previous experience in the tea industry, having been responsible for sensory comprehension and education for a major tea blender.

Ms. Russell is qualified to conduct physical and sensory analysis for both coffee and tea products.  She is a World Tea Academy Certified Tea Specialist and furthers her coffee knowledge through sensory analysis and roasting classes from the Specialty Coffee Association of America.

Coffee Analysts tea testing services include physical and sensory analysis of loose leaf, bags, sachet, and single-cup products for quality control and adherence to product specifications.  Product testing is used to manage financial risk and physical risk.  If your tea or coffee does not look, smell and taste as expected please call Coffee Analysts today.

Top 5 Takeaways From #NCAcoffee16

Coffee professionals from around the world met in San Diego last month for the NCA 2016 Annual Convention. Here’s what Spencer Turer observed this year: 

Thtreeburlaplogoe NCA is thriving! The 2016 Annual Convention had the most diversified and dynamic group of attendees since I started attending 20 years ago. Each year we have increased participation of supply-chain partners: growers and traders, including the specialty coffee quality segment.  The event represented virtually all the coffee in the United States in all forms, in all markets, and at all quality levels.

New research is emerging.The NCA 2016 brings together members of the respectedSAG (Scientific Advisory Group) to better explain why coffee contributes to a healthy lifestyle

The business of coffee is getting more dynamic and complicated.The NCA helps the coffee industry understand the confusion of governmental regulations, including TFTEA, FSMA, TVPRA, and GMO labelling

We don’t always talk about coffee.The two keynote addresses, “The Political Scene According to Michael Steele” and “The Five Principles of Elite Performers” by Jason Redman, and the pre-conference Symposium,”How to Lead in a Changing World,” provided necessary and important tools for professional development away from the cupping table or exhibitor floor.

The NCA is open to everyone in the industry.While many may miss the golf outings and formal (black-tie) receptions, today’s NCA is welcoming, more dynamic, inclusive, and provides more opportunities to learn and grow professional than ever before.


Change Is Brewing….

While at the NaCapturetional Coffee Association (NCA) annual convention in San Diego last week, Spencer was interviewed by Dave Swanson from to see what’s happening in the world of coffee. He checked in with Spencer and a few other experts and came up with some interesting takeaways:


  • We’re getting more finicky about our coffee
  • New coffee sources are coming
  • Baristas are becoming true coffee experts
  • Coffee is good for you (no news there!)
  • Climate change will impact your coffee future
  • We need to buy from coffee roasters that source coffee transparently

To read more about changes in coffee consumption, click HERE.

Discovering Tea! A Tasting


     Gwen Russell, Coffee Analysts

Discovering Tea is a hands-on, introductory-level tasting workshop that will introduce you to the many levels of tea tasting experience.

The workshop is hosted by Bijou Fine Chocolate and is co-sponsored by Coffee Analysts of Burlington who will be lending the talents of their professional Tea Specialist Gwen Russell. Join her as she shares a wide palette of world teas and teaches you how to enhance your tasting enjoyment and appreciation of this classic beverage.

Participants will walk away with a newfound ability to taste more in tea than ever before, a foundational knowledge of the many different types of teas, and an ability to discern subtle differences between tea varieties.

Designed for anyone interested in enhancing their enjoyment and appreciation of fine food, no experience is required and the series is open to the general public.

Crack open the door to a new world of culinary delight!

Bijou Fine Chocolate is an artisan chocolatier and patisserie located in historic Shelburne, Vermont.

Education is a passion at Bijou and out of a growing demand from the local food scene they are launching a new series of workshops called Tasting in Technicolor. “Discovering Tea” is the first in this series of workshops.

While Bijou focuses in-store on chocolate, pastries and teas, the Tasting in Technicolor series will be venturing all across the food spectrum, with visiting speakers representing all areas of the culinary world.

Coffee Analysts is an independent laboratory specializing in physical, sensory, and chemical analysis of coffee and tea, founded in 1994. We don’t sell coffee and tea, we help manage quality. Our team specializes in the evaluation and improvement of coffee & tea programs throughout the global supply chain.

Class/workshop schedule: Thursday, November 12th from 7:00 to 9:00 PM

Cost: $33.00Circle-300x276

Cost description: 2 hour class

Venue name: Bijou Fine Chocolate

Venue address:   6221 Shelburne Rd.

Shelburne, VT 05482

Venue location: Google Map




Kevin Toohey








































New Tea Testing Services


                Traditional Cupping of Loose Tea

Burlington, VT, September 29, 2015

Coffee Analysts has created a comprehensive Tea Testing program to address quality and consistency issues for tea products.

Even after centuries of growing tea and brewing tea as a global beverage, there remain unanswered questions regarding tea standards and product specifications.  Coffee Analysts conducted extensive research with respected tea institutions, such as the World Tea Academy and the Specialty Tea Institute, to develop a dynamic tea testing program for loose tea, bags, sachets, single-cup and ready-to-drink products.

Coffee Analysts will conduct physical, chemical, and sensorial analysis of tea products using scientific testing equipment and published ISO protocols. Coffee Analysts’ staff will test for current quality levels, evaluate items versus product specifications, and conduct comparative analysis between different tea products.

Spencer Turer, Vice President states, “Our independent analysis of tea products has been welcomed by many professionals in the tea industry. Gwen Russell, our Tea Specialist, is leading our staff in the development and execution of our new tea testing programs.”

A complete list of our Tea Testing services is available at



Your Coffee Needs a Regular Quality Tune-up



            Gwen Toohey at the cupping table

Coffee’s performance is the true measure of quality.  Branding, promotion, and merchandising will give your coffee initial bursts of speed, but only aroma and taste will provide the endurance and reliability necessary for your coffees to succeed.

Harvest time is important.  Coffee professionals know that each country harvests coffee at different throughout the year; even within a producing country, harvesting will occur at different times.  Each harvest time is based on the region’s distance from the equator, its altitude and climate variations. The flavor of all agricultural products, including coffee, will vary throughout the harvest year.  The difference in harvest times are not necessarily a quality obstacle but should be looked at as an opportunity for coffee buyers and roast masters to manage their blends by introducing fresh coffees throughout the year.  Early harvest coffee will have different sensorial characteristics than mid-harvest or even late harvest coffees, due to the maturation of the fruit on the tree.

Sometimes it is all about the weather.  Fruits and vegetables from one’s garden or from the local farm stand will not taste the same harvest to harvest.   These variations are due to changes in the soil composition, amounts of sunlight and rain fall, and differences in fertilizers used. Wine has vintage years with high prices when the quality is elevated and reduced prices when grape production is not exceptional.  Coffee quality is very similar.

Logistics is critical for quality.  Once picked, processed, and shipped to the roaster, coffee’s peak sweetness, aromatics and flavor must be managed through proper storage and inventory control.  As coffee ages it begins to oxidize and stale, creating dry, cereal-type, papery, and dusty characters.

Consumers expect a flavor consistency when purchasing coffee products.  For blends and standard offerings, consistency means uniformity of flavors throughout the year.  For specialty quality and micro-lots, consistency is defined by uniformity of flavors from roast to roast, and possibly harvest to harvest.

Verification of roast profiles, process controls and manufacturing standards will help ensure that the coffee’s intrinsic quality is not harmed or adversely changed.

In today’s highly competitive coffee marketplace, simply changing green coffee is not always the right answer.  Sometimes the performance issue is related to manufacturing or packaging.   Here in the lab, our coffee technologists use scientific methods and sophisticated analytical tools to diagnose quality issues with green coffee components and roasted coffee products.  Poor coffee performance causes reduction in customer satisfaction, loss of revenue and a bad reputation. Coffee professionals maintain their coffees at peak performance for superior customer satisfaction.