More than 60% of Americans enjoy drinking a cup of coffee every day; however, with a wide variety of sugary lattes and other popular coffee flavors out there, inexperienced people might fail to distinguish the difference in the taste of the coffee itself.
Today, it’s becoming more common for people to become educated about the coffee that they drink, and learning how to properly taste coffee is an important step towards that goal.
The Process of Coffee Tasting
Coffee tasting (also referred to as coffee cupping) involves observing and distinguishing the tastes and aromas of brewed coffee. It is a professional practice that can be done formally by Q Graders, but amateurs can always try it themselves with various coffee flavors at Starbucks or other popular coffee chains.
When tasting coffee, the five main characteristics to consider are sweetness, body, acidity, flavors, and finish.
Sweetness is among the top determinants of the preferential elements that coffee drinkers look for. The essential characteristic difference between Arabica coffee and Robusta coffee beverages is the sweetness and bitterness variations.
Someone drinking Arabica can make out a delicate, aromatic, sugary, and less caffeinated taste, as Arabica is a less caffeinated coffee beverage. In contrast, Robusta coffee drinkers experience a strongly caffeinated and and more bitter coffee. This determination of sweetness in a coffee beverage is, however, mainly based on the drinker’s tasting abilities.
The sweetness of coffee is founded on a fruity characteristic–the higher the quality of coffee, the more fruit notes are present, and the sweeter it will taste. It is also equally crucial that quality roasting is adhered to, as this is a vital determinant of the outcome.
The high acidity in a coffee beverage–often described as sparkling–affects the quality of the coffee. A lowness of acidity is described as light, and a coffee completely lacking acidic elements is referred to as flat. Coffee originating from Central America is essentially clear of acidic tastes.
Many coffee varieties have chlorogenic acid elements. Therefore, they provide antioxidants that help a drinker lower the risks of developing Type 2 Diabetes. The acidic features of coffee can further be lowered if one mixes their drink with a neutral beverage like creamer or milk.
The aroma of coffee often allows an individual to determine the geographical location from which the coffee originates and can help determine the overall quality of the beans. Currently, there are over 800 discovered varieties of coffee aromatics.
The body of a cup of coffee refers to elements such as being thick, syrupy, watery, or heavy. Heavy, full-bodied coffee is described as retaining its characteristic flavor and offering a relatively thicker feel compared to a lesser-bodied quality of coffee.
Aftertaste refers to the taste of coffee that lingers in the mouth after the beverage is swallowed. This taste comes from the acids caused by the beans that did not dissolve appropriately during brewing; large coffee grounds have a long-lasting aftertaste that many people may find unappealing.
Most prefer a short-lasting aftertaste or a good ‘finish’ that lasts longer. In coffee beverages such as espresso, aftertaste should last approximately ten to fifteen minutes. This length of time also depends on the freshness and roasting quality of the coffee beans.
Knowing how to fully taste a cup of coffee will go a long way on any coffee drinker’s journey to becoming a coffee expert–understanding the elements of tasting various kinds of coffee will not only help you impress your friends, but will also bring your coffee drinking experience to the next level.Looking for information on the best material for a pour-over dripper? Check out our latest article.