Aromas and Tastes

Burny/Smoky Flavor

Burnt / Smoky

This odor and flavor descriptor is similar to that found in burnt food. The odor is associated with smoke produced when burning wood. This descriptor is frequently used to indicate the degree of roast commonly found by tasters in dark-roasted or oven-roasted coffees.

Caramel Flavor

Caramel

This aroma descriptor is reminiscent of the odor and flavor produced when caramelizing sugar without burning it. Tasters should be cautioned not to use this attribute to describe a burning note.

Chocolate-like Flavor

Chocolate-like

This aroma descriptor is reminiscent of the aroma and flavor of cocoa powder and chocolate (including dark chocolate and milk chocolate). It is an aroma that is sometimes referred to as sweet.

Spicy Flavor

Spicy

This aroma descriptor is typical of the odor of sweet spices such as cloves, cinnamon and allspice. Tasters are cautioned not to use this term to describe the aroma of savoury spices such as pepper, oregano and Indian spices.

Floral Flavor

Floral

This aroma descriptor is similar to the fragrance of flowers. It is associated with the slight scent of different types of flowers including honeysuckle, jasmine, dandelion and nettles. It is mainly found when an intense fruity or green aroma is perceived but rarely found having a high intensity by itself.

Fruity/Citrus Flavor

Fruity / Citrus

This aroma is reminiscent of the odor and taste of fruit. The natural aroma of berries is highly associated with this attribute. The perception of high acidity in some coffees is correlated with the citrus characteristic. Tasters should be cautioned not to use this attribute to describe the aroma of unripe or overripe fruit.

Acidity

A basic taste characterized by the solution of an organic acid. A desirable sharp and pleasing taste particularly strong with certain origins as opposed to an over-fermented sour taste.

Bitterness

A primary taste characterized by the solution of caffeine, quinine and certain other alkaloids. This taste is considered desirable up to a certain level and is affected by the degree of roast brewing procedures.

Sourness

This basic taste descriptor refers to an excessively sharp, biting and unpleasant flavor (such as vinegar or acetic acid). It is sometimes associated with the aroma of fermented coffee. Tasters should be cautious not to confuse this term with acidity which is generally considered a pleasant and desirable taste in coffee.

Sweetness

This is a basic taste descriptor characterized by solutions of sucrose or fructose which are commonly associated with sweet aroma descriptors such as fruity, chocolate and caramel. It is generally used for describing coffees which are free from off-flavors.