Coffee Tasting Guide
The flavor of coffee is made up of three characteristics; Acidity, Body, and Aroma.
Acidity is a desirable characteristic. It is the sensation of dryness that coffee produces under the edges of your tongue and on the back of your palate. Acidity in coffee plays the same part as it does in the flavor of wine. It provides a sharp, bright, vibrant flavor. Coffee without good acidity will tend to taste flat.
Body is the feeling that coffee has in your mouth. It is the thickness, heaviness, or richness that is perceived when you drink it. Heavy bodied coffee is often described as earthy or nutty. A good example of body is the way whole cream feels in your mouth compared to water.
Aroma brings across very subtle characters of coffee. Aroma is where floral or winy notes will be apparent.
Flavor is all three of these ingredients combining together. Everyone has different perceptions of these components of coffee, and everyone will describe the same coffee in different ways. No coffee is better than any other coffee; it is a matter of personal taste.
The coffee grown throughout the world can be easily broken down into general groups as follows:
Higher Acidicy Coffee:
East African coffee such as; Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, & Zambia
Higher Body Coffee:
Natural Process coffee such as; Sumatra, Ethiopian Harrar, Brazil
Balanced, or Well-rounded Coffee:
Colombian, Costa Rican, Java, Timor, New Guinea, Panama, Nicaraguan, Ethiopian Sidamo, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, Jamaican
Kona, Mexican, Peru, & Bolivian
If you like a particular coffee within one of these groups, chances are you will also enjoy the coffee listed along side it.
Blended coffee is very simply, taking coffee from the above groups, combining them in different proportions, perhaps with different roast levels to create a new flavor profile.