Usual Terms

Aroma: The aroma contributes to the flavours we discern on our palates. Subtle nuances, such as floral or winy characteristics, are derived from the aroma of the brewed coffee.

Flavour: Flavour is the overall perception of the coffee in your mouth. Acidity, aroma, and body are all components of flavour. It is the balance and homogenization of these senses that create your overall perception of flavour. The following are typical flavour characteristics:

General flavour characteristics:

  • Richness: Refers to body and fullness.
  • Complexity: The perception of multiple flavours.
  • Balance: The satisfying presence of all the basic taste characteristics. Where no one over-powers another.

Typical specific desirable flavor characteristics:

  • Bright, Dry, Sharp, or Snappy: Typical of Central American coffees.
  • Caramelly: Candy like or syrupy.
  • Chocolaty: An aftertaste similar to unsweetened chocolate or vanilla.
  • Delicate: a subtle flavour perceived on the tip of the tongue. Typical of washed New Guinea Arabica.
  • Earthy: A soily characteristic (typical of Sumatran coffees).
  • Fragrant: An aromatic characteristic ranging from floral to spicy.
  • Fruity: An aromatic characteristic reminiscent of berries or citrus.
  • Mellow: A round, smooth taste, typically lacking acid.
  • Nutty: An aftertaste similar to roasted.
  • Spicy: A flavour and aroma reminiscent of spices.
  • Sweet: Free of harshness.
  • Wildness: A gamey flavour which is not usually considered favourable but is typical of Ethiopian coffees.
  • Winy: An aftertaste reminiscent of well-matured wine. Typical of Kenyan and Yemeni coffees.

Typical specific undesirable flavour characteristics:

  • Bitter: Perceived on the back of the tongue, usually a result of over roasting.
  • Bland: Neutral in flavour.
  • Carbony: Burnt charcoaly overtones.
  • Dead: See flat.
  • Dirty: Mustiness reminiscent of eating dirt.
  • Earthy: See dirty.
  • Flat: Lack of acidity, aroma and aftertaste.
  • Grassy: An aroma and flavour reminiscent of freshly cut lawn.
  • Harsh: A caustic, clawing, raspy characteristic.
  • Muddy: Thick and dull.
  • Musty: A slight stuffy or mouldy smell (not always a negative characteristic when in aged coffees).
  • Rioy: A starchy texture similar to water which pasta has been cooked in.
  • Rough: A sensation on the tongue reminiscent of eating salt.
  • Rubbery: An aroma and flavour reminiscent of burnt rubber. Typically found only in dry-processed Robusta.
  • Soft: See bland.
  • Sour: Tart flavours reminiscent of unripe fruit.
  • Thin: Lacking acidity, typically a result of under brewing.
  • Turpeny: Turpentine-like in flavour.
  • Watery: A lack of body or viscosity in the mouth.
  • Wild: Gamey characteristics.

Percolation: Any method of brewing where the hot water is pumped up and gravity falls through the grind.

Pre-infusion: The process of extraction of the ground coffee by the impregnation of hot water for a limited time (usually 3 seconds).

Richness: A characterization, which we give to a cup of coffee with rich flavour, taste, entity and acidity.

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