The Cooking Inn : Coffee Terminology F PageSelect an item from the list to go to it's site
A taste fault in the coffee beans producing a highly displeasing
sour sensation on the tongue. The result of enzyme activity in the green
coffee beans changing the sugars to acids in the drying process during
Coffee with good, positive characteristics.
If aroma is the overture of the coffee, then finish is the resonant
silence at the end of the piece. Finish is a term relatively recently
brought over into coffee tasting from wine connoisseurship; it describes
the aftertaste that lingers on the palate after the coffee is spit out
or swallowed. It is in part a reflection of body; heavier-bodied coffees
like the Sumatran will have a much longer finish than lighter-bodied
coffees like the Mexican.
An odor taint in the coffee bean or brew meaning that limited range
of gases and vapors is present in almost imperceptible strength. Due to
aromatic compounds leaving the beans as part of the staling process
after roasting or the holding process after brewing.
Flavor is the most ambiguous term of all. Acidity has something to
do with flavor, and so do body and aroma. Some coffees simply have a
fuller, richer flavor than others, whereas other coffees have an acidy
tang, for instance, that tends to dominate everything else. One can also
speak of a distinctively flavored coffee, a coffee whose flavor
characteristics stand out. Of the three coffees I suggest that you
sample, the Yemen Mocha is probably the most distinctive, the Mexican
the least distinctive, and the Sumatran the richest. The following are
some terms and categories often used to evaluate flavor. Some are
obvious, many overlap, but all are useful.
Harshness and sourness are two of the most widely used negative
epithets. Harshly flavored coffees are unpleasantly bitter, sharp, or
irritating. Terms like grassy, hidey, barnyard fermented, musty, and
Rioy (medicinal) describe even more dramatically undesirable flavor
characteristics. All of these characteristics derive from careless
processing. Presumably the coffees you taste will be superior, hence
free from such defects.
A term that generally covers a number of imperfect flavors coming
from contamination, for example, rubbery or moldy.
A rank, strong, fermented flavor or any other strong, unpleasant
defective flavor, such as hidey or oniony.
The sensation of the gases released from ground coffee as they are
inhaled through the nose. Ranges from sweetly floral to sweetly spicy.
When applied to roasting coffee, means that the bean is roasted high
enough to bring the natural oil of the coffee to the surface. Gives a
roasted flavor to the cup.
A positive characteristic applying to freshly harvested and roasted
coffee whose flavor is particularly vivid. An aromatic highlight in the
coffee bean and brew that is highly pleasing. The result of extremely
volatile organic compounds, particularly those containing sulfur,
evoking a strong sensation on the olfactory membranes.
An aromatic sensation created by a highly volatile set of aldehydes
and esters found in coffee's aroma. Either a sweet sensation reminiscent
of citrus fruit or a dry sensation reminiscent of berry fruit.
An intensity description of bouquet indicating gases and vapors are
present at a moderately pronounced strength.