There are many words that can be used to describe coffee.
During coffee cupping, certain characteristic are easy to
distinguish even for a beginning taster. For example, the
difference between natural and washed coffees, and between
high-grown and low-grown coffee.
To have a more accurate way to describe the differences
found in coffee, it is recommended to have a standard glossary
of terms and words before starting to cup. Here are a list of
words and terms that are ideal for describing the difference
A measure of the acid content in the
liquid. In fine coffees, acidity is a pleasant sharpness not to
be used with the sour taste of inferior coffees.
The sensation of brewed coffee released
after swallowing. Range from carbony to chocolaty, spicy to
The sensation of the gases released from
the brewed coffee, ranging from herby to fruity.
A taste by the back of the tongue, usually
caused by over roasting.
Perceived by the back of the tongue and
ranging in taste from "soft" to neutral. Found often in washed
Arabica coffees such as Guatemalan Low Grown.
Associated with mouthfeel and texture, this
should be strong, full, pleasant characteristic.
The total aromatic profile, resulting in
compounds form fragrance, aroma and aftertaste.
A common aromatic sensation, similar to
candy or syrup.
A common aromatic sensation in dark-roasted
coffee, reminiscent of a burnt substance.
A common aromatic sensation in a brew's
aftertaste, reminiscent of unsweetened chocolate or
A lack of fragrance, aroma and
Related to mellow, fragile, subtle flavour.
Found in washed New Guinea Arabica coffee.
An unclean smell or taste that can be
specific, such as sourness or mustiness.
An unclean smell or taste similar to
A lack of fragrance, aroma and aftertaste,
similar to dead.
The experience of aromatics once the coffee
is in the mouth.
The aromatic sensations inhaled by
sniffing, can be described as ranging from sweetly floral to
An aromatic sensation reminiscent of citrus
fruit or berries.
Used to describe an odor or taste in some
coffees that is similar to that of a freshly mown
A hard, raspy, often caustic flavour
sometimes described as "rioy".
Lacking in acidity, similar to
A rounded, smooth taste, lacking in
Refers to a coffee that lacks any
overriding characteristic, either pleasant or
The tactile sensations the coffee produces
on you palate.
A dull, indistinct thickish
A flavour that often occurs due to poor
storage or lack of sufficient drying, aging, or
An aromatic sensation that is released as a
brew that is swallowed, similar to roasted nuts.
A flavour that is desirable in good
blenders. lack of any strong flavour.
A parched sensation on the tongue, related
to sharp, salty taste sensations.
Caused when fruit is allowed to partially
dry while still on the tree. Mostly found in dry-processed
Robusta, not in Arbica.
The absence of the parched sensation on the
tongue, rather bland.
Related to over acidity, a sharp, biting
flavour often from under ripe beans.
An aromatic that is similar to
Free from any harshness.
A chemical change in the bean brought about
by any number of internal or external changes which changes the
Related to underbrewing, resulting in a
coffee lacking in any acidity.
Tasting like turpentine smells.
-Due to the wrong water to
A gamey flavour often associated with
Similar to wine, characterized by
full-bodied, smooth coffee. Found in Kenyan and Yemeni