At it’s most basic level, aroma is the smell of coffee. It’s responsible for many of the flavour attributes not directly perceived by the tongue (which are sweet, salt, bitter, sour and umami). There are over 800 known aromatics in coffee with new ones being discovered regularly thanks to advances in testing equipment.
Because aroma is the release of flavourful compounds from coffee through the air, fresh coffee will have a much stronger aroma than older, stale coffee (also why it tastes better!) Generally, as a roast gets darker, more of the compounds in coffee are changed and become detectable, meaning the aroma becomes stronger. The process of roasting (especially to darker levels) destroys the compounds that give high end coffee their unique characteristics and eliminating some of the benefits of paying more for coffee.
Discerning a coffee’s body involves identifying its tactile impression – its consistency and weight – as perceived in the mouth at the back of the tongue when you swoosh the coffee around in your mouth, and also after swallowing, or after spitting the coffee out if you are a cupper, or professional coffee taster.
A coffee cupper considers the coffee’s body a measure of the intensity of how it feels in the mouth in terms of weight, the sense of richness that the brewed coffee imparts, its heft. This is almost universally seen as a positive attribute but there are people who find the “grit” or “oiliness” of a coffee off-putting, and actually prefer a coffee to be smooth and filtered.
Like all things coffee, it’s an entirely personal decision based on what you like or don’t like. Learning about the “body” of coffee will help you pick a coffee bean and brewing method that makes each day better.
Mastering your senses and learning to taste coffee is a skill that produces life-long benefits. When you can appreciate the nuance of flavour, acidity, and body of coffee, you begin to appreciate the little things of life in a renewed way as well.
Acidity is widely misunderstood in coffee because it usually contributes to a poor tasting experience in low-end coffees. However, in the world’s best coffees, acidity is the star of the show.
Without acidity, coffee is often dull, boring, and mellow. Brazilian coffees are particularly known for their low-acidity. Though they can taste nice with mellow chocolate, nut, and spice notes, they rarely generate the same respect as coffees from their Central American neighbours, which are more acidic and vibrant on average.
Acidity in high quality coffee is balanced, crisp, and creates a zingy feeling across the front half of your tongue. This combination of characteristics highlights the naturally occurring flavours in the coffee, pushing the entire sensory experience a step forward.
The flavour of a coffee is best described as the items that come to mind when drinking it. Flavours are made up of complex compounds interpreted by our tongue and nose. It could taste like a snickers bar, a fresh strawberry, a margarita or maybe some combination of all of them! It’s not a concrete science, by any means. Flavour is always influenced by culture and experience and the biology of each individual.
Balance plays a significant role in our tasting experience when it comes to flavour. Origin 1668's balances all the attributes of the coffee provided by its origin, varietal, elevation, processing method and roast profile to extract the best flavour or taste profile in the cup.