Coffee News: from Seed to Cup

BuzzFeed’s Tasty Sells Specialty Coffee Through a Personality Quiz

Don’t bother checking your calendar: it’s not April Fool’s for another 3 weeks. Yet the latest news from BuzzFeed’s Tasty might well sound like an prank. The media giant is now selling specialty coffee based on a six-question personality quiz.

Yes, that’s right. Don’t like the coffee you got but quite fancy another? Tough luck, I’m afraid. You can only buy the coffee you got in the quiz. (For now, at least.)

SEE ALSO: Origin, Altitude, Notes: How to Buy Coffee You’ll Like

So how does the quiz work? Is the coffee really specialty coffee? And what does this mean for the specialty industry? I decided to take the quiz to find out.

How Does It Work?

Tasty is a branch of BuzzFeed that creates all those recipe videos you see going viral on Facebook, and Tasty Shop is where the coffee is being sold. Watch BuzzFeed Tasty’s Instagram video to find out how it’s supposed to work, and then scroll down for my experience.

We partnered up with @todayfood and brewed up something special! Get yours @ TastyShop.com

A post shared by Tasty (@buzzfeedtasty) on

Wait, Can a Personality Quiz Really Pick Your Coffee?

I have to admit, the coffee Tasty Shop gave me wouldn’t be my first choice out of their range. It was their Morning Jam, a dark roast blend of seven varietals from Peru and Sumatra. When I tried a second time and lied about some of the answers, on the other hand, I got The Lighter Side. And this sounded exactly like what I’d order in a café: a light roast Ethiopian Heirloom varietal with notes of lemon zest, flowers, and cocoa.

BuzzFeed Tasty Shop Coffee The Lighter Sde profile

Want this coffee? Say you like lemon, cocktails, and lots of caffeine.

This six-question quiz is half a personality quiz, half a coffee preferences quiz. Questions range from your favourite fruit and whether you take sugar or milk to which Today.com media you check in the morning. That being said, I tried clicking on all six different answers to that last question and it had no impact on the result. A six-question personality test, or a five-question coffee test with one extra sponsored question?

Other questions have a questionable methodology: for example, number 5 asks you to choose between wine, beer, cocktails, and being teetotal. Some experimenting with answers suggests this is designed to reflect your preferred roast profile. However, that seems a bit simplistic: those who love their wine and craft beer know that these drinks have a diverse range of taste profiles, much like coffee. What’s more, there’s a big difference between a vodka martini and a white Russian.

Alcohol question quiz in BuzzFeed Tasty personality quiz

Picking red wine will get you a dark roast. The others seem to be linked to lighter roasts.

So Is It Really Specialty Coffee?

So what about the coffee itself? The website gives you information about the varietal, roast profile, origin, processing method, drying method, and altitude, which is a promising start. Roasting, by the way, is done by Brooklyn Roasting Company.

What’s more, it uses the language of the third wave coffee industry, such as “single origins“. However, at times this felt a little deceptive – like when Morning Jam is described as “blending single origins”. Since a blend is the opposite of a single origin, and by definition all blends contain multiple single origins, this just feels like an attempt to trick the consumer with a buzzword.

BuzzFeed Tasty coffee profile

Screenshot of the description of Tasty Shop’s The Lighter Side.

What Does This Mean For The Coffee Industry?

While this may seem pretty basic to specialty coffee lovers, it will get people asking about the differences between coffee varietals, origins, and more. I’d argue that a quiz like this can changed the way some second wave consumers think about specialty coffee: it’s not that the coffee is special, but it’s that you’re special. Your particular preferences mean that you deserve this specific coffee.

And from there, it’s a short step to purchasing similar coffees in specialty cafés. So what do you think? Let us know!

Written by Tanya Newton. Feature photo credit: BuzzFeed Tasty via YouTube

Perfect Daily Grind is not affiliated with any of the individuals or bodies mentioned in this article, and cannot endorse them.  Perfect Daily Grind does not own the rights to these videos and cannot be held accountable for their content. All views within this opinion piece belong to the guest writer, and do not reflect Perfect Daily Grind’s stance.

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