Glossary of Coffee Tasting Terms


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Glossary

Acerbic
A taste fault in the coffee brew giving an acid or sour sensation on the tongue. The result of long-chain organic compounds being broken into shorter-chain organic compounds due to excessive heat during the holding process after brewing.

Acid
A normal characteristic of arabica coffees particularly high-grown varieties. Experts recognize two kinds of acidity:
1. Natural desirable acid
2. Natural undesirable sour

Acidity
A primary coffee taste sensation created as the acids in the coffee combine with the sugars to increase the overall sweetness of the coffee. Acidity should be influenced by the degree of roasting, not referring to "PH" measurement.

Aftertaste
The sensation of brewed coffee vapors released from the residue remaining in the mouth after swallowing.

Aged
A taste that gives coffee beans a less acidy taste and more body usually caused by enzyme activity in green coffee beans brought about by the chemical change which happens during the aging process after harvesting.

Body
The impression of a coffee's weight on our tongue. A desirable quality in coffee ranging from medium to very fall.

Bouquet
The total aromatic profile created as a result of the volatile organic compounds present in the gragrance, aroma and aftertaste of coffee.

Buttery
Most often a characteristic of high coffee-to-water ratios present in beans with may contain a high content of fat.

Caramelly
Sweet set of sugar compounds that is reminiscent of candy or syrup.

Carbony
An aromatic dark roasted coffee or burnt taste.

Chocolatey
A flavor reminiscent of unsweetened chocolate or cocoa powder.

Clean
Opposite of dry, clear and refined texture in the mouth.

Complex
A taste or aroma with many aspects.

Dry
A coffee with a parching drying finish, astringent.

Earthy
An aged somewhat undesireable odor and taste that produces a dirt-like sensation.

Fine Cup
Coffee with good characteristics of acidity, body, etc.

Flat
An odor taint in the coffee bean or brew due to aromatic compounds leaving as part of a staling process.

Floral
Hints of flowers.

Fragrance
The sensation of gasses released from coffee either sweetly floral to sweetly spicy.

Full
An intensity description usually broken into two categories, either a sweet sensation reminiscent of citrus fruit or a dry sensation reminiscent of berry fruit.

Herbal
An aromatic sensation of either grass, vegetables or herbs.

Mild
A balanced coffee without punch.

Nutty
Reminiscent of freshly roasted nuts.

Organic
A certification that a product is 100% chemical free.

Pungent
A strong and penatrating sensation either on the nose or the palate.

Rich
An indicator of depth and complexity of flavor fullness of body.

Roasty
A bittersweet or carbony flavor associated with the roasting of coffee beans.

Smoky
A naturally occurring aroma that of wood smoke.

Smooth
A coffee low in palate acidity.

Soft
A well-rounded flavor lacking harshness or acidity; mellow.

Spicy
Aroma of flavor suggesting spices such as cinnamon or a hot sensation.

Strength
The ratio of ground coffee to water.

Sweet
Usually indicated by a fruity or chocaty flavor.

Tangy
A combination of sweet and sour acidity

Tart
Pleasantly sour

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