Tasting coffee is an art form. Experience will enable you to detect the different flavours from the coffee bean – differences between different roasts, origins, and flavours of coffee. Much like wine tasting, it has special terms to describe the taste of coffee and to find the perfect balance. An experienced taster is able to detect even the smallest hint of flavour and body in each cup of coffee.
With a little practice you can too. After awhile, you will find that you are better able to work out the differences between each cup of coffee that you drink pointing out different aspects of what makes that cup of coffee special from all the rest.
A simplified version of the main terms below are used to describe certain characteristics of coffee.
5 Main Terms in Tasting Coffee
|TASTING TERMS||HOW TO DESCRIBE THE DIFFERENCES?|
|Acidity/Sourness – is a desirable quality and not to be confused with sour (which is a bad quality)|
Darker roasted coffee has less acidity.
|Aroma – Separate from flavour.|
|Body– The way the coffee feels in your mouth or tongue|
· How does this the coffee sit in my mouth?
· How much weight is there to the coffee?
· Does the coffee fill my entire palate with its presence?
|Flavour – The overall perception of the 3 terms above.|
|Finish – a term brought over from the wine tasting world.|
The tongue is able to discriminate among the many subtle flavours of coffee along different parts of the tongue that detect different flavours.
Pop into Cirelli HQ Roastery and pick up some tasting cards so that you can start practicing your tasting skills.
Our easy specialty coffee variety selection guide: How to choose the beans that are right for me? explains our different coffees and provides a tasting profile of each coffee. Click on the link to select your favourite type of coffee.
To help you out further, the folks over at the Specialty Coffee Association of America have developed a coffee taste wheel that you see above, which can help you describe how each cup of coffee tastes. This can be a great reference while you practice on your own.