Learn the Art of Coffee Tasting Like A Pro | How to Taste Coffee?

Learn the Art of Coffee Tasting Like A Pro | How to Taste Coffee?

There's more to coffee than meets the eye – or should we say, the palate. In every seemingly simple cup of coffee, hundreds of flavour compounds wait to be discovered. So, to truly appreciate the intricacies of each brew, we need to understand the art of coffee tasting. 

In this guide, we will provide you with practical tips and insights that will elevate your coffee tasting experience to new heights - From understanding the role of aroma to deciphering common flavour profiles. 

5 Basic Elements of Coffee Tasting 

The coffee tasting vocabulary may seem a bit too complicated, it is quite simple when you catch onto it. Learning and experiencing the simple definitions does come in handy. This will also help you navigate through all the different coffee qualities.  

So, here are the five basic elements of coffee tasting - 

1. Sweetness 

Although coffee is known for its bitter qualities, there is an element of sweetness to it. In fact, Arabica is considered to be better than Robusta beans owing to its prominent sweetness. 

Sweetness in coffee comes in different kinds including the sweetness of fresh fruit, caramel, honey or even molasses. 

2. Body 

One of the easiest elements to understand, the body is the weight and mouthfeel of the coffee. It is described as thick, heavy or rich. 

We can distinguish this element by paying attention to what the tongue feels after we swallow the coffee. Typically, thick-bodied coffee gives you the sense of drinking whole milk whereas light-bodied coffee has the texture of watered-down drinks on your tongue. 

3. Acidity 

Oftentimes, referred to as brightness, Acidity brings out tangy tastes such as lemon, citrus or even strawberry. The roast level of the coffee affects the acidity. Generally, the darker the roast the more acidic the coffee will taste. 

4. Flavours 

In addition to the distinct flavour of coffee, a few other flavours accompany your brew. It can be notes of cardamom, chocolate or hazelnut. Sometimes, you may even find fruity and floral notes. 

5. Finish 

Have you ever tried a cup of coffee so good that the flavours stayed long after you have finished drinking it? That is called finish - the lingering feeling of the coffee experience after drinking it. It can be smooth or rough. 

A Quick Tip: We can identify these differences by consciously storing the memories of sweetness, flavours and textures of food and drinks that we consume regularly. Then, when we drink coffee, we can try and identify these elements by recalling the memories. 

The Steps to Tasting Coffee like A Connoisseur 

Tasting coffee like a connoisseur is an art. It involves engaging your senses and appreciating the nuanced flavours and aromas the coffee has to offer. 

Here's a step-by-step guide to elevate your coffee-tasting experience and discover the intricacies of each cup. 

Step 1. Observe the Coffee's Appearance 

Pour a small amount of coffee into a clear glass or cup. Observe the colour and clarity. A quality coffee will have a rich, inviting colour with a slight sheen. 

Step 2. Enjoy the Aromas 

Bring the cup close to your nose and inhale deeply. Take note of the aromatic complexities. Freshly brewed coffee should have a distinctive fragrance, revealing hints of floral, fruity, earthy or nutty notes. 

Step 3. Assess the Coffee's Acidity 

Take a small sip and let the coffee coat your palate. Pay attention to its acidity, which contributes to the liveliness and brightness of the coffee. A balanced acidity enhances the overall flavour. 

Step 4. Consider the Body 

Evaluate the coffee's body or mouthfeel. Is it light and tea-like or full-bodied and creamy? The body provides insights into the coffee's texture and thickness. 

Step 5. Identify the Flavours 

Allow the coffee to linger on your palate and identify the different flavour notes. Note any sweetness, bitterness, or specific tasting elements like chocolate, citrus, or nuts. 

The coffee flavour wheel is elaborate; however, you can get started with simple notes that are familiar to you. 

Step 6. Reflect on the Aftertaste 

Assess the lingering aftertaste or finish. A high-quality coffee will leave a pleasant, lasting impression, showcasing its complexity. 

Step 7. Take Detailed Notes 

Keep a coffee journal to record your observations. Document the coffee's origin, roast level, and any specific flavour descriptors you identify. Over time, this will help you refine your palate and preferences. 

Shop Coffee Tasting Journal Here 

By following these steps, you can taste coffee like a pro and explore the nuances within each cup. This way, you can deepen your appreciation for the brew and level up your coffee journey. 

Final Words 

As you continue your exploration of the coffee world, remember to approach each cup with curiosity. Every bean has a story to tell and every brew offers a unique opportunity to discover new flavours and sensations. 

Try our Something's Brewing Explorer's Box. The box contains small packs of coffees from some of the finest coffee roasters across the country. We thoughtfully curate each box monthly; you can get started on your coffee tasting journey now.  

Shop Explorer’s Box Now 

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