Understanding Coffee Flavour 🍏🍓🍑

What is flavour?

Flavour is what drives all of our business decisions. It’s the most exciting and important aspect of everything we do. We’re always searching for new and unique flavours to share with our coffee community. We think of ourselves as big kids in a candy shop!

Perhaps you’ve seen The Coffee Taster’s Flavour Wheel? It’s a standardised and fairly comprehensive glimpse into all the flavours found in coffee. It’s useful at all stages of coffee preparation like roasting, brewing, and tasting.

Understanding flavour can be little complicated, especially with flavours wheels as big as this. So, we thought we’d break it down to make coffee purchasing decisions somewhat simpler.

First, it’s important to distinguish the difference between ‘taste’ and ‘flavour’. These two words are often used interchangeably but actually mean different things.

Taste is the sensation of flavour perceived in the mouth (taste buds) and can be broken down into 5 categories; salt, sour, sweet, bitter, and umami.

Flavour is a combination of taste, aromatics (smell), and memory. For example, a coffee that tastes sweet may trigger a strawberry memory for one person and raspberry for another. One reason for this variance is diet (e.g., one person eats more strawberries and the other eats more raspberries). However, although the flavour descriptions vary, the interpretation of sweet remains the same. This is the important thing.

How does this help with purchasing coffee?

Each of our coffees have been assigned with ‘taste notes’ which are made up of flavours. The flavours have been decided by our team of expert taters, who have spent years (like years!) mastering the skill of tasting coffee.

For example, our new Colombia, Las Guacanas Single Origin has been assigned the ‘taste notes’ of green apple and miso soup. What we’ve detected in this coffee is sour (green apple) and salt (miso soup). Even if we say, miso soup and you detect oyster sauce, the taste of salt still holds. Therefore, you would only purchase this coffee if you liked both sour and salt. And so on.

It’s important to remember everyone has their own palate, which means what one person likes, another may not. This is a good thing! We select coffees for so many different reasons and so should you. Tasting coffee is exciting, so always remember to have fun with it!