When browsing different types of coffees, their flavor description can feel exaggerated, embellished or confusing. However, if you understand how to describe the taste of coffee, you can better interpret these words. Additionally, understanding how to describe coffee enables you to leave accurate reviews and give others a sense of what the brew tastes like. Describing the taste of coffee requires only a full mug and a moment’s time to take a sip.
Describe the acidity of the coffee. Contrary to popular belief, acidity is not an undesirable trait in coffee. You can detect a coffee’s acidity by its aftertaste. If a coffee has higher acidity, its aftertaste is crisp, sharp and pleasant. If the coffee has low acidity, it will have a dull aftertaste. Because acidity is commonly misunderstood, describe it with words like bright and lively.
Describe the coffee’s aroma. Your nose is capable of detecting things that your taste buds cannot. For example, you can smell fruity, floral and citrus undertones in coffee that you might otherwise miss. Inhale the coffee’s scent before taking a sip to best detect these accents.
Describe the coffee’s overall flavor. The flavor is your perception of tastes while the coffee is in your mouth. For example, a coffee might taste mildly of chocolate or caramel. The flavor of the coffee is separate from its aroma, pay attention to what your taste buds can detect.
Put your description together. Begin with the acidity, followed by the aroma and close with the coffee’s flavor. For example, you might describe coffee as follows: “The coffee has a crisp, bright flavor, with subtle hints of citrus and rich chocolates.”
There is no one way to describe a cup of coffee. Each person who tastes the same brew will likely describe it differently. Pay close attention to how your personal senses detect the coffee when describing it.
- "The Perfect Cup: A Coffee Lover's Guide To Buying, Brewing, And Tasting"; Timothy James Castle; 1991
- "Confessions of a Coffee Bean: The Complete Guide to Coffee Cuisine"; Marie Nadine Antol; 2002
Serena Styles is a Colorado-based writer who specializes in health, fitness and food. Speaking three languages and working on a fourth, Styles is pursuing a Bachelor's in Linguistics and preparing to travel the world. When Styles isn't writing, she can be found hiking, cooking or working as a certified nutritionist.