Lifestyle · August 15, 2023

How to better understand coffee flavor notes

It is no secret that the taste of coffee depends not only on the degree of its roasting and good brewing, but also on where the coffee was grown. Countries matter among themselves in terms of soil composition and noticeable microclimate, so Colombian green coffee may  differ from Ethiopian coffee, or even from coffee grown in the neighboring country of Central America. To make sure that the words about floral notes in the aroma are not an empty phrase for you, you should make it a habit to experiment with coffee so gradually you will learn to highlight certain notes in a cup of your favorite coffee. Here’s how to get started:

Make sure your coffee is fresh

First of all, you should take freshly roasted coffee beans. Light and medium roasts will help bring out specific flavor notes, while dark roasts will overpower them. As soon as your freshly roasted coffee has cooled, you need to grind it – by grinding the coffee beans just before brewing, you save the volatile compounds in its composition, responsible for the taste and aroma.

Prepare coffee according to the recipe 

The grinder and equipment in which you will brew coffee must be clean. Residues from making other drinks can affect the coffee taste. Also, keep the right proportions of coffee and water each time you brew coffee – for example, more water and less coffee if you want a larger cup with a softer taste. 

Coffee tasting 

Before tasting coffee, take a deep breath over freshly brewed coffee. Then take a small sip of the coffee and let it hold your mouth so that it covers your palate, inhale deeply again. Already now you can taste the aroma of coffee, and by concentrating, you can even name familiar notes. Try to associate them with familiar smells and tastes (perhaps the floral notes will remind you of jasmine). 

Practice and comparison

To practice the difference between different notes in the aroma and taste of coffee, it is best to try different varieties of coffee in a row. A small tasting journal will help too: write down the aromas you smell, as well as any other sensory sensations, such as coffee acidity, body and aftertaste. 

Experiment with methods such as pourover, french press, or aeropress to see how they affect the flavor. Your ability to distinguish certain tastes will improve over time with practice. By engaging your senses and paying close attention to the nuances of each cup of coffee, you can better understand the complex flavors that coffee has to offer.