When sourcing, roasting, and brewing coffee, it’s important to arrive at a perfectly balanced cup. If you want to learn more about tasting coffee, we recommend focusing on the four tasting pillars that we use for palate development. We use these every day to be sure the coffee we serve tastes balanced and delicious. Coffee is often described in terms of complex foods like meyer lemon, starfruit, dutch chocolate & turbinado sugar. These flavors can be present in great coffee but we prefer to start by mastering these four tasting categories:
High quality coffee has natural sugars that are caramelized in the roasting process. It should have natural sweetness. Is it sweet like caramel, sugar, peach juice, or meyer lemon. Try grinding your coffee finer to bring out more sweetness & depth.
Great coffee has refreshing acidity. It’s similar to fruit. Fresh fruit has balanced sweetness and acidity. Under ripe fruit is bright without sweetness to balance it. Over ripe fruit loses acidity, becomes too sweet, and tastes dull. Does your coffee have acidity? Is the acidity balanced by sweetness and richness? Try coarsening your grind to highlight acidity & make it finer to dampen it.
Coffee done right has a unique and wonderful mouthfeel. Body is the category describing the weight and texture of your cup. Consider the different experience of drinking cream, whole milk, & nonfat milk. The texture and weight is dramatically different. If your coffee is weak, or lacking body, you may need to brew your cup with more coffee to make it stronger. If you are brewing coffee too strong then it will often taste sour.
How does your coffee taste once you’ve finished a sip? Do you want to take another? How we experience a coffee’s finish is often overlooked, but is a significant taste indicator. A bad finish means you have a bad cup. If you have a bitter or woody finish, try coarsening your grind. Does your cup lack a nice lingering finish and just drop off? Try making the grinder finer.