This study proposes a selection strategy to be applied to a large number of coffee accessions, which can be useful when exploring many genotypes in breeding programs for beverage quality. Over three consecutive years, 270 Arabica coffee accessions from the Germplasm Bank of Minas Gerais, Brazil, were sensorially characterized. At the end of this period, the 20 genotypes with the greatest potential for specialty coffee production were selected, which were subjected to a second sensory characterization. Additionally, we determined the genetic correlations between the attributes that make up the final beverage score. We did not identify an attribute that was more important than the others in the organoleptic performance of the studied accessions. Through the proposed method, we identified genetic variation in our original population and selected five accessions with beverage quality considered excellent according to the SCA classification. These accessions were planted in field conditions of highly specialized farms to study their interaction with the cultivation environment and to promote the increase in production of such coffees. Additionally, the five selected accessions are being used in crosses with elite cultivars create new segregating populations. We conclude that estimation of the heritable variation of each accession, the use over the years of common check cultivars with known performance, and extremely care of experimental precision in the entire processes warrant fair comparisons.