Seattle, Wash. U.S.A. (May 28 2007) - Vice President of Seattle-Based Zoka Coffee Roaster & Tea Company, Tracy Allen, possesses exceptional taste buds, according to the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA). Allen passed a rigorous "sensory skills test" administered by the trade association, scoring high enough to receive the designation of Super Taster. According the Joseph Rivera, Director of Science and Technology for SCAA, only about 20% of the population have taste buds talented enough to qualify as Super Tasters, and only a small percentage of those score as high as Allen. "He definitely qualifies as a Super Taster among Super Tasters," said Rivera. The sensory skills test measures not only the ability to distinguish between tastes, but the ability to detect the intensity of different tastes relative to each other, a critical skill for coffee "cuppers," those who taste test coffee.
Allen's skill as a coffee taster earned him a place as head judge at the recent United States Barista Championship (USBC) in Long Beach, May 4-7, 2007. He also serves as chairman of the committee that organizes the event, and chairman of the Rules Committee for the World Barista Championships. Allen said, "Being a competition judge is exciting, and it is nice to have your ability to taste confirmed by a test, but you don't need to be a judge or a Super Taster to enjoy great coffee."