The coffee flavor wheel

The flavor of coffee depends on many things: such as the place of cultivation, the type of coffee, the method of cultivation, harvesting, formation and roasting of the mixture, as well as the brewing of roasted, ground coffee. And these are just a few of the influencing factors.

There are several procedures to taste, such as cupping and espresso tasting.

During the cupping process, the coarsely ground light roasted grind is poured with soft water at 94 degrees Celsius, which can be tasted after 4 minutes, when its temperature has dropped to 70 degrees Celsius.

During the espresso process, it can be tasted after 1 minute after preparation, it is allowed to cool continuously, since this is when the fruity notes come out.

How to taste coffee?

It is very similar to wine tasting, as coffee experts classify the raw materials of coffee on the basis of similar criteria. The difference is that there are 600 chemical components in wine and 800 in coffee. As a rule, scoring is carried out on the basis of five criteria: bitterness, minerality, pickles, sweetness, savouriness.

The skills required for coffee tasting are not difficult to master, but there are qualities that are born with us. Let’s look at the scoring:

90-100 points – Unique, exceptional       

85-89 points – Excellent

80-84 points – Very good

79-70 points – Good

69-60 points – Average

59-50 points – Commercial

Coffee above 80 points is usually called specialty coffee. These coffees represent the area where they are created, healthy and free from taste defects.

Coffee cupping guide

It is very important that always hydrate yourself with water before tasting and always drink water between processes to neutralize the taste in the mouth; and do not use any additives ( milk, sugar ) in order to clearly feel the tastes.

It is worth to note the following four steps: smell, sip, place and write down.

1. First, smell. Always smell the coffee before you sip it. Soak up the smell deeply. Our tongue can distinguish only five flavors — sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and umami — but our noses can distinguish a trillion smells.

2. Then sip. Really. Sip your coffee loudly. Don’t be afraid. Sipping causes coffee to flow through your tongue and palate, allowing you to feel all its subtleties under the influence of extra air.

3. Now place it. Think about how coffee feels in your mouth. How heavy or dense? What part of your tongue reveals its flavors?

4. Finally, and this is very important, describe the experience. What words would you put into the taste experience? Think about the aroma, the taste and how coffee feels in your mouth. Did you feel a lot of acidity on your tongue? What other known flavors would you mention when describing the sensation?

Coffee flavor profile

What is a taste profile? Let’s see an example “Earthy taste effect with fresh herbal and persistently spicy flavors.”

What should you pay attention to when tasting coffee? Focus one by one on the four characteristics: aroma, acidity, physicality and taste. You will notice that this foursome gives out the overall “flavor profile” of coffee.

Acidity: Its acidity is influenced by the place of production and is not equal to pickles.

Body: Refers to the density of coffee, which means that fuller coffee is silkier, lighter, creamier.

Aromas: To determine the aromas we can use our nose so this is the most interesting part of the tasting. Lighter aromas are characterized by a floral, citrusy, fruity aroma. Next comes the medium aroma, which are more like the honey, grainy, spicy, mild roasting scent, while the categories with a definite aroma can be described as woody, cocoa character.

A good starting point is to read the characteristics of the flavors on the coffee packaging and try to recognize them when tasting.


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