If you’re curious to learn about the flavours in coffee you might enjoy this handy chart that the Speciality Coffee Association of America (SCAA) developed to help detect the tastes and aromas in each brew. Save a bit of each month’s coffee and taste it black, next to the following month’s - that way you can really compare and see what’s what.
How to cup coffee
Great coffee is fragrant as well as flavoursome so first take a minute to breathe in the aroma and see what flavours you can identify (using the chart). Next take a sip making sure to spread the coffee over your palate, and look for:
Acidity: the brightness and sharpness of a coffee when tasted, does it make your mouth water?
Body: the weight of the coffee in your mouth (think of the difference between skimmed milk, whole milk and cream)
Flavour: Quality coffees have an element of natural sweetness, not overly sweet, just naturally balanced. This might come through as fruity flavours, or chocolates and caramel depending on the origin, processing and roasting.
The balance of characteristics will determine the quality of the coffee and how much you enjoy it.
If you're a subscriber to the Handpicked Discovery Plan, you will notice that we’ve left some space on the booklet to jot down your own thoughts on the coffees. You'll become a coffee expert in no time!