Coffee Taste and Aroma

Wine connoisseurs engage in wine tasting to judge quality. The evaluation of coffee taste and aroma to judge quality is called cupping. Although a master taster may be the one who judges coffee at an international competition anyone can try their hand, or tongue, at judging coffee taste and aroma. A so called expert may be the one who certifies the winner in a coffee competition but you are the judge of coffee taste and aroma when it comes to the brands of healthy organic coffee that you enjoy.

What is Coffee Cupping All About?

Coffee cupping is simply a formal way to assess coffee taste and aroma. Here are the steps:

  1. Sniff the coffee – breath in deeply to assess the aroma of the coffee
  2. Drink to spread the coffee over the tongue – experts often say that they slurp so that the coffee reaches the back of the tongue as well as the tip, top, and sides
  3. Note the texture of the coffee
  4. Judge the sweetness of the coffee
  5. Taste for acidity
  6. Taste the flavor
  7. Be aware of the aftertaste

Just like tasting wine you will want to roll the coffee over the tongue in order to present the brew to the different senses of sweetness, sourness, acidity, bitterness, and saltiness.

Aroma of Coffee

The following table has a simple list of the aromas that have been described for various types of coffee.

Coffee Aromas
Ashy Citrus
Burnt or smoky Herbal
Medicinal Nutty
Chocolate Spicy
Caramel Tobacco
Toast like or malty Wine like
Earthy Woody

Coffee taste and aroma are related in that what most of us consider the taste of our coffee is heavily influenced by the aroma. Regular and organic coffee antioxidants are major contributors to both coffee taste and aroma.

Taste of Coffee

* The basic aspects of taste without aroma are acid, bitter, sweet, salty, and sour. A mild degree of acidity presents a pleasing taste whereas a too acid brew can be experienced as over ripe and unpleasant.

* Bitterness to a moderate degree is considered by most to be an agreeable aspect of coffee taste. Coffee bitterness is heavily influenced by the roasting process.

* Sweetness in coffee comes from natural sugars and is experienced as caramel, fruit, or even chocolate.

* Saltiness may be part of coffee taste but if present to any great degree becomes disagreeable.

*Sourness is usually not found in properly grown, picked, and processed coffee. It is found in coffee that has fermented and has a large number of rancid beans in the batch. Sourness is often found in coffee that has not been properly dried.

Texture and Aftertaste

The texture of coffee, often referred to as “mouthfeel” is as important an aspect for same as coffee taste and aroma. The body of coffee is the sense that the brew is something other than just water. Think of a clear soup broth and then a soup broth thickened by pureeing a few of the vegetables and adding back to the soup.

The other aspect of coffee that vies with coffee taste and aroma is the aftertaste. If coffee leaves a persistent dryness in the mouth, from the alkaloids in coffee, it may be very disagreeable despite its otherwise excellent coffee taste and aroma.

Whether you choose Panama Mountain Grown Organic Coffee, one of the Colombian organic coffee brands, or Kona coffee from Hawaii you will most like the coffee taste and aroma most agreeable to you no matter what the label says.

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