What are coffee tasting notes?

At Beans, with our personalised coffee subscriptions, we try and take the guess work out of exploring the world of speciality coffee. Our clever quiz matches you to coffees we are pretty sure you will love but you are also able to browse all 150+ of our coffees all in one place. If you want to freely explore some of the best speciality coffees from some of the UKs best roasters one of the easiest ways to know if you are going to love a new coffee is to review the coffee tasting notes, but what are tasting notes and how can they help you find new amazing coffees you will love drinking?

Chocolate, Nutty, Caramel or Peach are all flavours you might see detailed as flavour notes, but this doesn’t mean that the coffee has been flavoured, they are the natural characteristics of that particular bean and the way it has been roasted and the brewing method used. In a similar way to wine or beer coffee has very complex flavour notes which are impacted by where or when it was grown, processed, roasted and brewed. Arabica coffee can have thousands of unique chemical compounds so if you taste Dark Chocolate in the cup you are tasting a similar compound to that actually found in dark chocolate. Some of those flavours are full in your face and some are much subtler and depending on your own palette you will be drawn to some more than others. You can try and pick out certain flavours by brewing two coffees side by side using the same coffee brewing method, and trying each one in turn. Go between them and try and distinguish the different flavours between them. A coffee tasters flavour wheel can help you identify certain flavours, start towards the inside of the wheel, with the broader categories, and move towards the outside to pinpoint more specific flavours. It can take practice but can be really fun to do and will help you understand what coffees you should be trying in the future. A flavour wheel can see here on the SCA website. To see more information on coffee brewing methods you can check out our brewing method pages here.