Coffee Taste Chart: Appreciating Coffee Flavors

Coffee Taste Chart: Appreciating Different Coffee Flavors

Last Update: May 14, 2021
The use of the coffee taste chart helps coffee drinkers appreciate coffee even better. Read on how to make use of the chart and reap the benefits.

Coffee tasting is much like wine tasting. There are several factors to consider, and often, you will find yourself at a loss in describing the real flavor of your coffee. It will take practice to develop a refined palate for coffee bean flavors and determine their overlapping flavors.

You need to “train” your tastebuds and nose for you to distinguish the different aromas and tastes effectively. You can do this with a little effort each day. Likewise, there are tools such as a Coffee Taste Chart or a Coffee Aroma Wheel that you can use to achieve a better appreciation for a fresh brew.

Coffee lovers would know the challenge of identifying the distinct flavors in their coffee cups. There is a broad range of characteristics that one would find in different types of coffee. It goes from Earthy tones, sweet fruity to floral and tea-like. There is a fantastic spectrum of taste experiences in a simple coffee cup. With the help of a coffee-tasting chart, you can explore various coffee tastes and pinpoint the unlying tones that flavor your coffee.

The Coffee Taste Chart or the Coffee Flavor Wheel is one of the most iconic coffee industry tools. It was first used in 1995 and has been an industry standard since then. It was updated in 2016 in collaboration with World Coffee Research.

The Coffee Tasters Wheel was founded upon the alliance of works by dozens of coffee buyers, professional sensory panelists, and coffee roasting companies. At present, this tool is the most extensive, most collaborative item of research on coffee flavor completed. It inspires a whole new range of vocabulary for coffee professionals around the globe.

Introduction to Different Coffee Flavors

Do you know all the different coffee flavors available? A coffee connoisseur will need to identify taste, aroma, and coffee’s flavor based on its different compounds. The coffee tastes chart based on the Specialty Coffee Association Of America offers a comprehensive look at describing a cup of java, from brewing method, coffee extraction and more.

Coffee is among the drinks in the world that offers a complex flavour wheel. This example produces a distinctive range of sensory encounters through various coffee cups. As we’ve mentioned, every experience varies on essential factors—preparation, roast level, geographical source, brew ratio, and coffee beans or type of coffee grind.

These elements affect the overall coffee experience, from the roasting process to coffee consumption. Scientists have broken down flavors and aroma into a graph to help a coffee drinker identify each unique taste based on types and roasted coffee method.

These overriding elements help identify your unique coffee preference. Aroma descriptions on charts include, but not limited, to herby, nutty, smoky, or flowery. On the other hand, the flavor or taste diagram has sourness, saltiness, sweetness, bitterness, and acidity descriptions for coffee aficionados for easy descriptions.

As a coffee lover, you understand that roasting level significantly affects coffee’s taste and flavor profile. Whether you’re into arabica roast, medium roast, or turn into a darker roast, experts and scientists emphasize that each roasting process creates a unique coffee flavor experience.

Whether you use the best espresso machine, your coffee grinder affects your overall unique morning cup of piping hot brewed coffee. If you prefer cold brew iced coffee, note that bigger cups generate a more robust aroma release.

Expert coffee lovers suggested that if you want to achieve that reduced acidity whilst increasing burnt smoky aroma, go for darker roast coffee beans. In contrast, a light coffee roast retains fruit and herb notes.

What Makes Coffee Taste Different?

There are hundreds of ways to enjoy a cup of coffee. A simple adjustment in the brew can instantly transform its taste. But why does coffee taste so different? The things that make coffee taste different are due to its ingredient, and partly, it is also about its science.

One key factor that addresses the question of what makes coffee taste different is the beans’ origin. Each growing region renders a specific trait or characteristics to your coffee and enhances its flavor profile.

For instance, Kenya and Sumatra are popular origins of coffee, and they have different climates for growing their beans. Here’s what we know about the parts that make coffee taste different from one another.

tasting coffee


When looking at the types of coffee Australia has, you will notice that most products come from prominent coffee-producing countries. The most recognizable and probably the biggest coffee-producing country in the world is Brazil. The climate here lends well to a wide variety of coffee bean products. Brazilian coffees are processed in three ways – wet, semi-washed, and dry. The essential flavors notable in their coffee are chocolate and spices, but some have a nutty quality, which makes them an ideal espresso blend.

Kenya, on the other hand, is famous for producing coffee beans with a sweet-savory taste. It sometimes reminds tasters of a tomato’s acidity or tart blackcurrant. Likewise, coffee beans from Central American countries like Honduras, Guatemala, and Costa Rica are considered as the backbone of the standard coffee commonly prepared. Coffee from this region has a bright and clean taste. There are notes of fruity and nutty flavors with light cocoa and spicy flavors.

Apart from Brazil, Colombia and the rest of South America are also a coffee heritage region known for their high-quality coffee. Their popularity made them synonymous with excellent coffee taste. Rightly so, coffee from this region exhibits a mild acidity with hints of chocolate, caramel, and nuts.

Another prominent coffee origin is Ethiopia. The country is known for producing the Coffea arabica variety. They have two distinct flavor profiles in their beans. Washed beans have hints of jasmine and lemongrass, while naturally processed beans have sweet, syrupy berry flavors.

And we have the world’s fourth-largest coffee producer, Indonesia. This region produces both Arabica and Robusta coffee beans. The beans they produce have hints of heavy and musty notes reminiscent of dark chocolate.

The Coffee Menu

Different coffee variety from each region has distinct qualities that react differently depending on how it is brewed, prepared, or served. For instance, Colombian coffee gives us an excellent espresso blend. Thus, its freeze-dried variety is enjoyed by coffee lovers around the globe.

A taste of each type can only be distinguished by professional tasters and those with a refined palate. To fully understand each cup’s flavor profiles, you have to explore each blend or single-origin coffee. This way, you can find a coffee that suits you best.

Specialty Coffee

Coffee drinkers today enjoy their cups mixed with milk and other ingredients. Milk-based coffees are among the bestsellers in most coffee shops. If you often opt for a latte or cappuccino, you must understand how milk changes the coffee’s taste. More so, you should keep in mind that choosing a blend based on how its espresso taste can lead to an unpleasant drink when milk is added.

Whole milk affects the taste and consistency of the coffee drinks we prepare. Using a higher ratio of milk will mellow-out the intense flavor of espresso in quality beans.

What is the Difference between Coffee Beans and Espresso Beans?

True blue coffee lovers are known to be picky with roasts and beans. When choosing coffee for a new brew method, you will realize espresso beans and coffee beans. Are these two the same? What if we told you that there is a considerable difference between these two?

Most people are not aware of the difference between a coffee bean and an espresso bean.

Coffee beans are beans that have been roasted and are ready for brewing. They are available in several roast quality. You can opt for a light roast to enjoy a fuller flavor of the bean. The flavor profile of these beans varies according to the region in which they came from. The different roast quality include the following –

Light-roasted – these beans do not have the oily sheen typical with other roast varieties. They are ideal for white coffee and non-pressure brews such as cold-brew and pour-over coffee.

Medium Roasted – gives a different flavor profile, and it can be used for various brewing styles.

Dark Roasted – this variety is commonly utilized for espresso brewing. The beans appear with their dark-brown color, oily and shiny surface.

On the other hand, espresso beans are various coffee beans belonging to the dark roast category. At this stage, the beans have less acidity and a fuller flavor. Preparing your coffee with espresso beans will give you slight hints of the flavor profile of the beans.

Among coffee bean types, dark roast espressos are the richest in natural oils. The oils are emulsified along with the other compounds in the coffee bean, which helps produce the espresso crema.

Using regular coffee beans to prepare espresso may not give you the type of brew you can expect from a “perfect” shot. Some varieties are too light, while others are too dark or charred.

Types of Coffee Flavors From Different Coffee Beans

different coffee beans

Being a barista requires more than mixing different types of coffee flavors but to learn the difference between each. It’s not about turning your espresso machine and pressing a button. An excellent coffee experience begins with the invigorating aroma of the distinctive coffee’s taste.

Knowing your beans from a Robusta to the Arabica roast is essential. Each roast level affects the overall sensory experience of a coffee lover. As a matter of fact, with over 1 billion coffee drinkers in the world, only 40% are familiar with coffee’s flavor. Coffee grinder and bean type play a significant role in the coffee’s taste.

The diagram presented by the Specialty Coffee Association of America helps us determine various coffee aroma and taste, leading us to the exact coffee flavor description. As an expert coffee drinker, to help you fully describe each coffee flavor from various coffee beans, the coffee tastes chart works as your best guide.

Coffee beans undergo a specific roasting process to help release the perfect flavor, oil, and aroma. While there are various types of coffee beans worldwide, Liberica or robusta, Arabica accounts for the highest percentage of coffee production.

Scientists explain that light roast beans offer a more caffeinated and acidity experience. A medium roast bean provides a more balanced acidity, aroma, and flavor. According to various coffee charts, the darker roast has a full-bodied, heavy and lower caffeine content. Furthermore, the extra dark roast coffee grind has a burnt, smoky, and bitter taste that offers the lowest caffeine content.

Your brewed coffee is more than just a unique coffee encounter but mirrors your preference and lifestyle. Coffee extraction and the brewing method play a vital role in the overall coffee quality. Whether you go for iced coffee or cold brew during the scourging summer days or piping hot java in the winter, the type of bean you choose plays a vital role in the quality of your roasted coffee experience.

The flavour wheel provides a specific graph example of how to determine coffee aroma and flavors. This graph is used by experts when describing the coffee taste. Brew ratio, brewing method, origin, preparation, and consumption plays a crucial role in your cup of java experience.

Coffee Tasting: Differentiating Tastes

When it comes to the taste of coffee, professionals with refined palate will tell you that there is no single coffee taste. The use of the coffee taster wheel is but to guide you in coming up with a description. Coffee taste is influenced by its origin, processing, roasting quality, and preparations. To perceive the taste using the taste buds, the Coffee Taste Chart, or the Coffee Tasting Wheel, starts with four basic tastes – sour, salty, sweet, and bitter. As it spans outwards, it follows your exploration of the flavors you identify in your cup. Here are the basic differentiating tastes for coffee.


Identifying a sour taste in the coffee world is perceived to be a desirable characteristic of excellent coffee. It may come off as tartness or fruity profiles that can be mild or biting sharp feel in your tongue. In most cases, it arises from the acidic compounds produced through under-extraction in the brewing process.


Bitterness becomes an identifiable profile when coffee is over-extracted in the brewing process. Some factors that may also influence a bitter cup are coarse grind and over-steeping. While it is also important to note that bitterness is an omnipresent quality of the beverage, it is an indispensable coffee flavor. Low levels of bitterness mellow the acidity, and it adds a unique quality to the brew. On the other hand, too much bitterness may overpower the different components that one can find in coffee, producing an unpleasant flavor.


When it comes to the sweetness factor in coffee, it is somewhat likened to the coffee cherries’ ripeness. When harvested, the cherries contain natural sugars. Having that sweetness quality guarantees that the coffee has been cared for in every stage of the process – from washing, drying, roasting, and storing. The sweet taste profile is also applied by coffee professionals in describing the intensity of sugary qualities of a specific coffee variety.


Among the basic taste qualities, saltiness in coffee is considered a defect by taste experts. A brackish quality in a brew is an undesirable taste. More so, it indicates inorganic materials or contamination of mineral content that remains in the coffee.

Aside from these four fundamental differences, there are other dimensions of the coffee tastes. For instance, the mouth-feel of a brew is viscosity. Likewise, the texture you feel near the back of your tongue is due to the insoluble protein oils undissolved in the blend. This characteristic can be described as light and thin or heavy and full. Coffee is said to be full-bodied if it has a lingering taste, and one that lacks body is thin and watery. Sumatran and Colombian coffee beans are well-known for their full-bodied roasts.

How Would You Describe the Taste of Coffee?

When reading through various coffee varieties, you may think that the descriptions are embellished, confusing, or exaggerated. But when you learn how to describe coffee tastes, you will be able to interpret these words better. More so, understanding how to describe coffee allows you to recognize the brew by merely taking a sip from your cup. A refined coffee taster will also be able to leave an accurate description of the taste of coffee after thoroughly enjoying your brew.

Describing the Acidity

Primarily, you can describe coffee based on its acidity or its aftertaste. When it comes to coffee, acidity is not an unpleasant trait. If your coffee has a crisp, pleasant, and sharp aftertaste, its acidity is on a higher level. On the other hand, if the coffee has low acidity, the aftertaste is quite dull.

Describing the Aroma

The taste buds are limited when it comes to detecting flavor profiles. Thus, professionals use the aroma to identify hints of flavors in coffee. For instance, you’d be able to smell citrusy, floral, and fruity undertones in your coffee. These can be easily missed out when you rely on your tastebuds for taste identification. Because of the crucial part of the coffee aroma, smelling the brew before taking a sip is the first step to coffee tasting. Doing this best detects the accenting flavors in your brew.

Describing the Overall Flavor

The flavor is the perception of what you taste while the brew is in your mouth. Coffee may taste slightly caramel or chocolatey. Take note that flavor is not the same as the aroma; thus, pay close attention to the flavors that your tastebuds can detect.

Come Up with A Complete Description of Your Brew

You may describe coffee starting with the acidity, followed by its aroma and then its flavor. For instance, you can describe coffee as – one with a sharp, bright flavor, with hints of citrus and caramel.

Generally, there is no one way of describing a cup of coffee. The same brew may taste differently for each person who cups it. Thus, take note of how your senses identify the coffee’s flavors, aroma, and undertones when you taste it.

What Does Coffee Taste Like With Different Milks

coffee with milk

Milk, when added with your favorite cup of java, affects your overall coffee experience, but what does coffee taste like with and without milk? Does the type of milk modify coffee’s taste? How can simple milk inclusion transition a regular brewed coffee into lattes, cappuccinos, and more? Here’s what you need to know about modifying coffee’s flavor?

The coffee tastes chart plays a vital role when it comes to aroma and taste description. Whether you prefer cold brew or iced coffee, strong espresso shots from your state-of-the-art espresso machine, or going for a low-fat, non-dairy choice, there’s a crucial flavor shift in composition and taste when adding milk to your cup of java.

No coffee grind and milk is created equal. Milk components play a crucial role in every coffee drinker experience. The fat, water, protein, and carbohydrates present inside each milk carton affects coffee taste. In comparison, the Specialty Coffee Association of America gives a great example of how a coffee lover can best describe the coffee flavor.

The roast level, brew ratio, coffee extraction, and brewing method plays a significant factor when it comes to providing a distinction to your coffee taste. Scientists studied these component mixtures and how it affects the flavour wheel diagram for coffee.

When you add milk to roasted coffee, this drastically transitions the overall flavor experience. A good coffee grinder can provide the perfect coffee texture needed for a specific coffee profile. Various charts showcase how the type of roast affects coffee aroma and taste, leading to a distinctive coffee flavor.

The roasting process helps coffee beans reach optimum profile distinction. This gives you a better option of which coffee meets your unique taste preference. From light to medium roast, darker roast to extra dark, this affects acidity, bitterness, and taste. Adding milk to your Robusta or Arabica roast can modify its preference.

The amount and type of milk you add to your coffee significantly affects its overall flavor. With a coffee graph for flavors and the amount (or type) of milk you add, you can have plenty of caffeine options.

What are the Four Steps of Tasting Coffee?

Coffee tasting and cupping sessions are often held in coffee shops. You might find one scheduled in the coming days near your location. Similar to wine tasting, cupping sessions entail a variety of brews from different coffee beans. You might not be able to fully come up with a complete profile of the brew in your cup, for starters. But by practicing the steps in coffee tasting, you will soon be able to fully appreciate your coffees. Additionally, you will also identify the characteristics you like on your brew based on their origin, processing, and roasting quality.

steps of tasting coffee

Step 1 – Smell

Always inhale your coffee before taking a sip. Your taste buds can identify the four basic tastes – sour, bitter, sweet, and salty.  On the other hand, the nose can detect thousands of aromas. So, cup your hand over your cup and hold it close to your nose. Take a delightful smell and identify the scented undertones.

Step 2 – Slurp

During a tasting, it is crucial to slurp your coffee and not just sip it. Slurping spreads coffee across your tongue. It helps your tastebuds identify the primary flavors of the coffee while letting its aroma reach your nose.

Step 3 – Locate

Take note of the flavors you experience on your tongue as you taste your coffee. Did you feel the flavors better at the tip or the side? How would you describe the mouth-feel? How was the weight of the brew on your tongue?

Step 4 – Describe

After smelling and tasting your cup, consider how you can best describe the experience. Describe its acidity, aroma, body, and flavor. Identify the flavors and the experience that you have in your cup.

How Do You Make Coffee Taste Good?

You might have coffee that tasted so awful, but you also had heavenly brews. Is it possible that you can always have better brews and avoid unpleasant coffee experiences?

Coffee snobs may discourage you and tell you how challenging it is to create a great-tasting coffee. But with the right technique and combination of these tips, you’ll have a better experience every morning right at home.

Choose Good Beans

Great coffee starts with high-quality coffee beans. These beans don’t taste the same. The flavors of these coffees are 100% natural and very diverse. It means that some beans will be great, and others will be so-so. If you are after a perfect experience, choose specialty-grade quality coffee.

Likewise, choose freshly roasted beans. Get them whole and ground them. Coffee grounds will soon lose their distinct flavors. The peak freshness of coffee is around two to three weeks; thus, those you see on the shelves are beyond the freshness peak. Ideally, you can find roasters that roast beans according to orders.

Choose Your Coffee Brewer

The ideal brewing temperature is 195 degrees, and you should have a coffee brewer that can reach this optimal heat. Most coffee experts prefer to use manual coffee makers.

These coffee makers allow better control over brewing time, water, and grounds for a better-tasting brew. You can also adjust your technique to attaining the flavors in your coffee flavor wheel.

Coffees do taste better when you brew them manually. Over time, you’d be able to master slight adjustments to change your brews, time, and water to suit your desired tastes.

Better Water

Remember that your coffee is 98% water; thus, filtered coffee is the ideal choice for preparing your cup. Too many minerals in tap water will lead to dull and lifeless coffees. Coffee shops use special filtered water; thus, you get better tasting coffee every time you visit them.

How To Brew Using Specific Coffee Flavor Profiles

The love of coffee has never been so strong as people do more and more at home, especially if they are aware of the coffee flavor profiles that best meet their preferences. Assuming you’ve tried several brewing methods at home and plan to do more this week, we’ll be highlighting technical chops and qualities every coffee lover will surely appreciate.

Once you identify your preferred brewed coffee type, you can easily navigate your coffee’s taste based on the Specialty Coffee Association of America when it comes to flavors, aroma, and taste. This gives you a better overview of flavor profile suitable to your needs.

While the fundamental components of a “good” roasted coffee are water, coffee grind, and a reliable filter, the type of brewing method you’ll choose significantly affects your java experience. The flavour wheel helps a coffee lover identify how to achieve a specific flavor.

However, to help one understand unique coffee’s flavor, several factors need to be distinguished. The type of coffee beans, roasting process, coffee grinder, and brew ratio matter to what taste you want to achieve.

The coffee tastes chart allows baristas (and baristas in the making) to experiment and create a distinctive coffee flavor for everyone. Scientists even explain that coffee extraction and roast level can make the profile you desire. Whether you use light or medium roast beans, Arabica roast or darker roast, all of which can affect a cup of java’s acidity, sweetness, bitterness, sourness, and saltiness.

A coffee drinker may have an espresso machine sitting on their kitchen countertops, ready to use and meet your flavor charts; others still experiment with several brewing methods. With a graph and a good coffee bean on the side, you’re one step to a magnificent coffee experience.

Experts also suggested that, whether you follow the diagram or not, flavor coffee profiles vary with your chosen brewing process. Either you go for pour-over, espresso, press, or drip brewing, it all boils down to a coffee connoisseurs unique taste preference. For example, iced coffee or cold brew, lattes or cappuccinos, and espresso all meet specific taste criteria for every coffee enthusiast out there.

Coffee Types Chart: Important Takeaways

It has never been easier to whip up a cup of coffee in the morning with the coffee types chart on the side.

Whether you brew coffee at home or allow the nearest coffee shop to navigate your coffee’s taste, understanding coffee profiles and flavor is essential to meeting your caffeine needs.

If you know the difference between the iconic iced coffee and cold brew, you’re one step closer to becoming an expert barista and a full-time coffee lover.

The Specialty Coffee Association of America provides a detailed diagram of how we can classify coffee based on taste and aroma.

Your coffee’s flavor is greatly affected by the brewing method, brew ratio, and type of coffee extraction or coffee grind present on your espresso machine or any devices used to prepare your cup of joe.

The roasting process on your coffee bean, whether you use the popular Arabica roast or Robusta, play a vital role in your overall coffee experience.

Scientists and experts alike study the roast level of every coffee bean, and how it affects acidity, bitterness, sourness, saltiness, and sweetness, defined on the coffee tastes chart flavour wheel. This graph provides a great example of how we can describe a brewed coffee taste whenever needed.

As a regular coffee drinker, having these types of charts can improve your cup of joe experience. Whether you go for darker roast, medium roast, or lighter roasted coffee, the flavors vary with how your coffee grinder grinds your beans. From preparation to consumption and everything in between, coffee is more than just an ordinary routine morning drink—it’s a lifestyle that only a few can get to live every single day.

Conclusion – Coffee Chart

Regardless of the coffee type you have at home, and you can learn how to properly describe your brew’s taste by continually drinking, adjusting, and studying. Consider picking out Australian coffee types on your next cupping session and determining where the flavors sit in the coffee-taste chart. With the information shared in this post, we hope to have provided you with some ideas to approach coffee cupping. Now that you know your tastes better, you can perceive and better describe your coffee.