Coffee Flavour Wheel
Improve your coffee sensory and tasting with the coffee flavour wheel. You can download and print the image below to use it while brewing your coffee and tasting.
How It Works
Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world, with billions of cups being enjoyed every day. As such, it has developed into an incredibly complex and nuanced drink, with a seemingly endless variety of flavours and aromas. To help coffee professionals and enthusiasts better understand and appreciate these subtleties, the coffee industry has developed a tool known as the coffee flavour wheel. In this article, we'll take a closer look at the history of the coffee flavour wheel, how it's used, and how coffee drinkers can benefit from it.
Coffee Flavour Wheel
History of the Coffee Flavour Wheel
The coffee flavour wheel was developed in 1995 by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA). It was created as a standardised tool to help coffee professionals communicate about the sensory qualities of coffee in a more objective and precise way. Prior to the development of the flavour wheel, there was no widely accepted terminology or system for describing the taste and aroma of coffee. The SCAA's flavour wheel was based on a similar tool that had been developed for the wine industry. The wine wheel was created in the 1980s by Ann C. Noble, a sensory scientist at the University of California, Davis. The wine wheel was designed to help wine professionals describe the flavour and aroma of wines in a more standardised way. It consisted of a series of categories, with more specific descriptors for each category. The coffee flavour wheel takes a similar approach, with general categories like "sweet" and "fruity" at the center of the wheel, and more specific descriptors radiating outwards from those categories. The descriptors range from broad terms like "citrus" and "floral" to more specific terms like "bergamot" and "lavender."
How the Coffee Flavour Wheel is Used
The coffee flavour wheel is used by coffee professionals in a variety of contexts. For example, coffee roasters might use the wheel to describe the flavour profile of a new coffee they're developing. They might say that the coffee has notes of "dark chocolate" and "stone fruit," for example. This helps other professionals understand what the coffee tastes like and how it might be used in blends or single-origin offerings. Baristas also use the flavour wheel to communicate with customers. If a customer wants a coffee that's "bright and fruity," for example, a barista might recommend a coffee with notes of citrus or berry. This helps the customer better understand what they're ordering and what they can expect in terms of flavour. Finally, coffee enthusiasts can use the flavour wheel to develop their own palate and learn more about the nuances of coffee. By trying different coffees and identifying the specific flavour and aroma notes, they can develop a more sophisticated understanding of the beverage they love.
How to Taste Coffee
Tasting coffee involves using your senses to identify and appreciate the different flavours and aromas of the coffee. Here are some steps to follow when tasting coffee:
- Start with freshly roasted coffee: Make sure the coffee you are tasting is fresh and has been recently roasted. The fresher the coffee, the better it will taste.
- Smell the coffee: Take a deep breath and inhale the aroma of the coffee. Try to identify any particular notes or scents, such as chocolate, fruit, or nuttiness.
- Take a small sip: Take a small sip of the coffee and let it sit on your tongue for a few seconds. This will allow the flavours to develop and for you to appreciate the taste.
- Pay attention to the taste: Try to identify any flavours that you taste, such as sweetness, bitterness, or acidity. Think about how the flavours interact with each other and how they contribute to the overall taste of the coffee.
- Evaluate the aftertaste: Swallow the coffee and pay attention to the aftertaste. Note any lingering flavours or sensations.
- Repeat: Try another sip of the coffee and see if you can identify any additional flavours or aromas that you may have missed the first time.
Remember, tasting coffee is subjective and everyone's taste buds are different. Don't be afraid to experiment with different brewing methods or coffee beans to find the ones that you enjoy the most.