Your coffee tasting glossary

Use our handy tasting glossary to learn a few key terms to look for when evaluating the flavours of your beans.

Fancy yourself a coffee connoisseur, or just want to learn a few key terms to look for when evaluating the flavours of your beans?

Use our handy tasting glossary below:

Bitter
Not to be confused with acidity. This is a harsh and unpleasant flavour.

Burnt
The result of over-roasting, like burnt toast or charcoal.

Caramel
A sweet, caramelised sugar taste.

Clean cup
Pure coffee flavour, free of any defect or taint.

Complex
Many flavours present simultaneously.

Earthy
Aroma or taste of rich wet soil, usually found in wet hulled coffees.

Flat
Dull and boring, characteristic of an old coffee.

Fruity
Reminiscent of fruit. For example, berries or stone fruit.

Grassy
Like a newly mown lawn.

Green
Tastes of unripe fruit.

Mellow
Soft with low acidity.

Mild
Light-bodied, low/medium acidity.

Musty
A bit like mildew. Undesirable.

Soft
Low acidity, mellow sweetness, pleasant.

Spicy
Reminiscent of spices. For example, cloves, cinnamon or pepper.

Stinky
Rotten flavour – sour odour caused by the presence of ‘stinker’ beans, which are caused by over- fermentation.

Sweet
Can be sugary, syrupy, fruity or more subtle and nutty.

Thin
Watery, wishy washy.

Woody
Can refer to anything from cedar to saw dust.

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