Getting the best from your taste panel

Getting the best out of your tasters doesn’t just come from good training, it’s how you manage your taste panel.
Having world-class tasters is not enough to ensure that your products are free from defects and of the highest quality. The way in which you run a taste panel can have a dramatic effect on your tasters, no matter how good they are at tasting.

With this in mind you’ll find information and advice on this page about taste panel management: From simple things you can do to improve your taste panels, to major changes you should be making.

Selection and Screening — Finding the Right People

Initially one of the most vital ways of ensuring your taste panel is world-class is getting access to the best tasters within your organisation. This sounds simple but is often overlooked.

Advertising for Tasters

Tasting is a vital part of quality control and is an important part of beer and beverage production. Advertising for tasters should be treated as seriously as any other job, a professional advert with the right specifications will help to attract those who are serious about tasting and quality.

Recruiting the Best People for the Role

Tasting is often seen as an easy job and it has been known for people to invite their friends to become part of a tasting panel. There can also be an ‘inner circle’ of people within an organisation who have to be invited along to tasting or have always been part of a taste panel.

This behaviour can have a direct influence on your tasting results — a group of friends may not take the responsibility seriously and so would not produce the best results. Any outwards behaviour will also have an effect on tasting results by distracting other tasters.

An inner circle, or people who have always been invited along to tasting sessions, can also have a negative impact on tasting. Those who are experienced in tasting can come with expectations of what should be happening in a taste panel. This can introduce bias during tasting and the more vocal members of a taste panel can distract newer tasters and introduce poor practice with older methods of tasting.