Learn How to Taste Coffee Like An Expert

People often enjoy the aroma of coffee but despise the bitter flavor. 

Learn How to Taste Coffee Like An Expert

A good cup of coffee has a balanced sweetness and sourness to it. Chocolate and nut flavors, as well as fruity and flowery smells, are all present. Your taste buds will be comforted by a natural sweetness that is balanced by tangy acidity. The bitterness of coffee is always present, but it never takes over the cup.

Contrary to popular belief, good coffee is not supposed to taste bitter.

To know all the ways to describe how your coffee tastes, you need to grow a more developed coffee palate. You can develop a sophisticated palate that rivals the "experts'' as you continue to consume (and probably dream about) coffee. Professional coffee tasters do not use specific spoons or brewers; instead, they have more opportunities for comparative tasting.

To taste coffee like an expert, we will get to the tasting wheel of coffee to know your coffee better. But before that, let’s get around some of the tasting terms of coffee in the glossary below.


Glossary Terms To Explain Coffee Taste

This coffee taste ashy with a hint of nutty flavor

With various terms to describe coffee, you might need a little help with the tasting terms of coffee. Below are some tasting terms that are generally used to describe coffee. 

  • Acrid/Acidic

a term used to denote a strong sour flavor in coffee.

  • Ashy

Sort of coffee that is most commonly associated with dark roast coffee. This odor is similar to that of an ashtray or a fireplace.

  • Baked

Flat, drab, and uninteresting coffee

  • Bitter

A harsh, sour, and even unpleasant taste is found on the back of the tongue.

  • Bouquet

The aroma of freshly ground coffee 

  • Bready
Coffee with a grainy fragrance that reminds you of freshly baked bread. Typically seen in sour coffee or coffee beans that have not been properly roasted.
  • Bright

Coffee that has a nice yet crisp flavor.

  • Caramelly

A flavor or scent that mimics candy or syrup made from caramelized sugar.

  • Carbony

The flavor or scent of charred food or wood. This taste is typically associated with darker roasts.

  • Chicory

a plant that may be used to flavor coffee or even as a substitute for coffee.

  • Chocolatey

A taste or aroma like chocolate.

  • Citrusy
Refers to the coffee taste or odor of citrus fruit. Because the coffee beans come from the coffee fruit/coffee cherries, it is frequently found in coffee.
  • Ferment

A sour or oniony flavor of coffee that has been cooked and fermented for longer than necessary 

  • Flowery

A floral scent with a fruity or herbal flavor or aroma that is commonly found in coffee.

  • Fruity

Has an aroma and flavor that is similar to a variety of fruits.

  • Grassy

Aroma resembling freshly mowed grass, commonly associated with roasted or water-damaged coffee beans.

  • Herbal

The scent of freshly cut grass and herbs is present in coffee that hasn't fully dried throughout the manufacturing process.

  • Hidey

Describes a smell or flavor that is similar to leather. Some east African coffees contain this ingredient.

  • Malty

A malt or grain scent that resembles the aroma of freshly made bread.

  • Mellow

A well-balanced, mild brewed coffee with no overpowering flavor or scent.

  • Nutty

Has a nutty aroma to it. Only fresh beans, not bitter or rotting beans, are referred to by this word.

  • Quackery

A nut-like flavor resulting from the use of raw coffee beans.

  • Rubbery

A fresh Robusta coffee aroma or trait that tastes and smells like heated tires or rubber bands.

  • Scorched

Coffee that has been roasted until the point of scorching due to overheating or improper dropping during the roasting process.

  • Sour

Biting, acrimonious flavor found in coffee.

  • Spicy 

Tastes or smells like cloves, cinnamon, or other spices.

  • Tobacco

The aroma and flavor of freshly rolled tobacco leaves. Not necessarily a bad thing.

  • Winey

The flavor, smell, and taste of coffee that reminds you of wine.

  • Woody

Taste and aroma of old coffee

Also read: Why Do We Need Coffee Break? Here's the Answer! 


Coffee Taste Flavor Wheel

The Coffee Taster's Flavor Wheel from the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) has been the industry standard for coffee experts all around the world since 1995.

The illustration coffee wheel, created in partnership with SCAA and World Coffee Research, has a full set of descriptive phrases that represent specialty coffee standards at the time.

Coffee Taste Flavor Wheel

[reference: theprimadonnalife.com] 


How To Navigate The Coffee Taste Wheel

The taste of coffee is a mixture of chemical components perceived by the sense of taste, and aromatic substances perceived by the nose. Apart from the sweet, salty, bitter, and sour taste traits, the aroma of coffee is said to be the most important characteristic of coffee tasting.

The aroma and taste characteristics of freshly roasted beans are essential to understanding and appreciating delicious coffee. The key is to notice them in different stages.


Step 1: Smell the coffee

Pay attention to the aroma of freshly roasted and grounded coffee beans because it will tell you a lot about the freshness and character of the coffee. Next, prepare fresh coffee and inhale the aroma as the coffee is brewed.

Learn how to make sure your coffee beans are always fresh for brewing.

Step 2: Know the Wheel of Aroma and Taste

You may see some unfamiliar coffee aroma and taste, but don't worry about them at this point. For now, immerse yourself in the color wheel before you find the right taste of your coffee.

Step 3: Start in the middle

Start with the aroma at the center of the wheel and work your way out of the generic descriptors. You'll find that the descriptors become more specific as you move towards the edge of the wheel.

Step 4: Taste your coffee

After the brewing process and aroma tasting, it's time to taste it. Trust your taste buds. This time, turn to the Flavor Wheel and start again in the middle. The taste descriptors become more specific as you exercise.

For example, a coffee connoisseur might find some berries. The coffee's flavor might be a little confusing when you are still new, but that's okay, you will eventually find the right one.

Also read: Learn How to Brew Drip Bag Coffee Easily!


Where to Buy A Good Coffee?

Buy A Good Coffee at Kisaku Coffee

Preferences are important when buying good coffee, especially great coffee beans. Yatagarasu, a specialty coffee blend from Kisaku Coffee is perfect for Arabica lovers who like dark chocolate and brown sugar tasting notes in their coffee. The various bean grind sizes will fit your coffee preferences, be it Tubruk coffee, espresso, or french press.

Check out our shop here.