A beginners guide to tasting coffee

Pretty everyone knows about food and wine pairings, but have you heard of food and coffee pairings? Thanks to the rising popularity of single origin and high-end coffee after the last few years it’s becoming clear that coffee offered just as much nuanced flavour and body as wine.


With that in mind, it’s time to start exploring the myriad of different tastes and flavours found in your favourite cup of Joe

When tasting coffee it’s important to keep in mind four factors: body, acidity, flavour, and finish




Body refers to the mouthfeel of the coffee. Heavy coffees will coat the mouth and the lounge while lighter coffees will feel thinner in the mouth. Coffees with a lighter body tend to work best as iced coffee.




Similar to wine, acidity can play a huge part in the overall taste of the coffee. Most coffee fans look for beans that offer a bright complex acidity, or a robust low acidity. In general the washing process and roast can have a huge effect on the beans acidity. Wet processed coffee, were the fruit is removed from the bean before drying tend to have a higher acidity. When it comes to roasts, lighter roasts tend to me more acidic than medium and dark roasts.




Here’s where things get complicated. The fact of the matter is that the various flavors found in various coffee’s cover an extremely wide gamut. Depending on the coffee drinkers can expect to taste a variety of flavours. Some stand outs included, nuts, chocolate, spices, herbs, and vegetables. Everything from the elevation to the soil and elevation can effect the taste of coffee.

With this in mind coffees from certain regions tend to have set flavour profiles, although variation can exist. Coffee from Central American regions tend to be nutty and chocolaty, coffees from Africa tend to have strong flora and citrus flavours. Finally coffees grown in the pacific region tend to have a strong herbal and earthy flavor.




Finally we come to finish. Finish, as one can expect, refers to the aftertaste of the coffee and the feel it leaves in your mouth. In many ways this largely influenced by the flavour and body of the coffee in question.

One you’ve got a handle on these four aspects of coffee you’ll begin to open up the wider world of coffee tasting and food pairing. Watch this space for more more detailed guides to tasting coffee!


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