An Advanced Guide to Coffee Flavor Profiles

Did you know that Americans drink about 400 million cups of coffee every day? Many coffee drinkers like drinking specialty coffees like lattes, cappuccinos, and espressos. 

There are many different ways consumers can enjoy a nice cup of joe, some like adding milk and sugar, while others drink it black, and there are also many different flavors when it comes to coffee. But, of course, this is all dependent on the soil and climate of the coffee plants.

We will discuss the different coffee flavor profiles present in coffee beans. Keep reading to learn more!

Tastes and Aromas

Before we get started on the different flavors of coffee, we need to talk about the difference between aroma and taste. 

The taste of a coffee bean is determined by the type of climate it grew in. For example; Brazil grows its coffee beans in the high mountains, where it is a bit colder. As a result, the bean matures slower than in warmer climates and develops a sweet and complex flavor. 

Aromas, on the other hand, are determined by the roasting level. Sugar browning, for example, produces nutty, chocolate, or caramel notes. The Maillard Reaction is largely responsible for these notes to pop in our coffee cups. 

Coffee Flavor

Now that we know the difference between aroma and taste, let’s dive into the different flavors that coffee can produce. We will do this by starting with flowery coffee. 

Flowery Coffee

Coffee beans are actually seeds of a berry of the coffee tree. So it is no surprise that our coffee contains hints of flowers and fruit. These fruity aromas, called enzymatic properties, can range from tartness to sweetness. 

The way that the beans are grown, processed, and roasted can play a significant role in this particular flavor of the coffee. 

Acidic Coffee

Acidic flavors should not be confused with sour coffee. Acidic coffee contains hints of citric acids such as lemon and lime, malic acids like green apple notes, or sweet and tangy notes like phosphoric acid. 

Acidic flavor in coffee can make the coffee pop and bring an exciting and new flavor profile to coffee.

Bitter Coffee

Although bitterness is often not a sought-after flavor in coffee, it can bring a nice complex profile to your coffee. The key is proper balance; just enough bitterness will complement and bring out the other flavors. 

Sweet Coffee

Sweetness in coffee is a much-desired flavor. It is often associated with the chocolate notes that we find in coffee. This is produced by the different roasting and processing methods used. 

These methods include fermenting, not washing before drying, and lightly roasting the beans. 

Sour Coffee

Sour coffee should not be confused with the acidic flavor. Sour coffee is not a desired element in coffee. And there are several reasons why your coffee might taste sour.

First, the sour flavor in coffee is extracted during the brew of your coffee. As a matter of fact, it is the first flavor that is released during the brew. Thus, the coffee becomes balanced during different points of the brew. It is a common mistake in brewing but an easy fix as well.

It is also possible that the coffee was a bit too cool for the brewing process to be successful. As mentioned above, the brewing process extracts the sourness first. If your water is not hot enough, it won’t be able to extract the other delicious flavors. 

Much like the water temperature, the water amount is also a key factor in a successful brew for similar reasons. If the water level is too low, the desired flavors such as sweetness, flowery, and acidity will not be extracted properly.

How to Describe Coffee

If you want to become a connoisseur of coffee, you must know the right lingo and terms to describe a good cup of java. We will discuss some of the popular terms used to describe coffee.

There are several elements that professional roasters look for when they rate a cup of coffee. These elements include; flavor, aroma, body, and acidity. We have already discussed three of those terms. So, we will look at the body first and then look at some other important elements in a cup of coffee. 

Body

The body of a coffee is the texture and the aftertaste of the beverage. A full-bodied coffee is thick like milk or cream and leaves a long aftertaste. Tea, for example, has very little body as it is more watery and doesn’t necessarily linger on the tongue.  

Balanced

We briefly touched on the term “balance” when we discussed bitterness. Good coffee is perfectly balanced and has no dominant trait. Coffee that is too sweet isn’t a good coffee. The same goes for other factors of coffee such as body, fruitiness, smokiness, and much more. 

Clean

A beginner coffee drinker might associate a clean cup of coffee with a cup that has little body. This is not the case. A clean cup of coffee does not have any flavor defects. These defects can include fermentation, rotten fruit, and a peanut flavor. 

These defects are caused by a misstep in the processing procedure, such as picking the bean too early, roasting it too long, or any other of the many steps that are involved in the plant-to-cup process.  

Learn All About the Different Coffee Flavor Profiles Today

There are many resources online to learn more about different coffee flavors. As you can see, there are many factors that make up the different coffee flavor profiles. 

The options are endless, since coffee is such a popular beverage, and for a good reason. When done right, it is a delicious way to start off your day, bring people together, and much more!

Check out our coffees and order the best coffee beans today!