Bean Talk: Explaining Tasting Notes

I remember the first time I was buying green coffee. I wanted to make sure I bought the best tasting coffees so I looked up each coffee to read the "tasting notes". I read things like "high acidity" and "medium bodied". I needed the damn Rosetta Stone to understand what these things meant. I did my research and finally gained an understanding of how coffees are described. So in this "Bean Talk" I hope I can give you a basic understanding about coffee tasting notes.

Aroma - refers to the characteristic smell of an individual coffee.

Acidity - refers to the pleasant tartness, snap, or dryness that the coffee leaves at the back of the palate and around the edges of the tongue. If a coffee is low in acidity it will have a much more smooth mouth feel. A highly acidic coffee will give you a dry mouth feel and you will feel it more in your cheeks. Ethiopian coffees are usually pleasantly acidic.

Body - refers to the way the coffee feels in the mouth. Texture, creaminess, heaviness, richness or thickness are all ways to describe body. For example, a coffee that has a "rich body" will be heavy and creamy on the palate, giving your mouth the sensation of drinking milk rather than water.

Flavour - refers to the overall combination of the factors listed above. When a taster writes the flavours associated with the coffee, they are taking into account the aroma, acidity, and body.

I hope this will help you better understand the tasting notes that roasters write about their coffees so that you can have the confidence to try something new next time you go coffee shopping!

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