What is a Coffee Taster’s Flavour Wheel?

The Coffee Taster’s Flavour Wheel allows professional coffee tasters to identify and categorise coffee beans.

How does your coffee taste? Is that a hint of hazelnut or nutmeg? Or perhaps it tastes like molasses, malt or acetic acid. No matter what your coffee tastes like, the flavour was reported by a coffee roaster and certified by a taster. Now coffee roasters have been in collaboration with sensory scientists to generate a more up to date way to distinguish the flavour of your coffee.



Inspiration behind the flavour wheel

The Specialty Coffee Association of America and coffee researchers are the brains behind the invention of the Coffee Tasters Flavour Wheel. This is the first modification to the flavour wheel in over 20 years. It is similar to the aroma wheel used by wine connoisseurs to describe the various wine fragrances. And just like wine, coffee beans can reflect flavour depending on their growing terrain, climate aspects and the different roasting methods, which can all produce different flavour profiles ranging from sweet to bitter.

Why use the flavour wheel?

Coffee is one of the most complex products we consume, from a chemical point of view. It can have subtleties of flavour, texture and aroma, with infinite flavours rivalled by no other food or drink. It is the coffee beans’ genetic code and molecular makeup that determines how we experience coffee. Depending on where the bean was grown its genes, processing, drying, milling and roasting all play a part in making up the flavour and taste of our coffee.

Coffee scientists have created a comprehensive list, on the Coffee Tasters Flavour Wheel, by taking 105 coffee samples from 13 countries worldwide. It suggests 110 flavour attributes, describing texture and aroma present in each coffee sample with indications for measuring their intensity.

Each individual flavour is referred to by an actual object so that a roaster may describe both its intensity and type of flavour when they talk coffee. Examples of taste and flavour suggested are sweet, fruity and sour, vanilla, beany and herb-like, to name just a few. The purpose of the Lexicon is to develop our understanding of the quality of coffee, and how it is grown and developed.

So next time you are sipping a cup of coffee pause after each sip, look at the chart and consider the flavour and aroma. Do you detect something pungent, fermented, floral or sour? See which flavour speaks to you! If the coffee doesn’t wake you up, the bright colours on the chart may help too. You can purchase the English version on Coffee Taster’s Flavour Wheel by clicking here.

Single Origin Coffee Beans

Here at The Coffee Wholesalers, we know you will love both the flavour and aroma of our single origin coffee beans. Why not take a look at our current special wholesale offers? For example, you get high-quality coffee beans and if you by 5 kilos of single origin coffee beans, we give you one kilo free.