Coffee Definitions

Acidity—The lively, palate-cleansing property which is characteristic of all high-grown coffees is acidity. Most of the world’s finer coffees have considerable acidity. This is responsible for a coffee’s “dry snap”; not to be confused with “sourness” or “bitterness”. It is a favorable quality, a pleasant sparkle or tang on the tongue, which is one of the results of the roasting process. Its presence will diminsh with increased roasting; thus, darker roasts will have lower acidity. It should also be noted that milk or cream will neutralize acidity to some degree.

Aroma—The fragrance or odor of brewed coffee is the aroma. Examples of this would include the following.
  • Caramel – candy, syrup-like
  • Carbony – as in dark roasts
  • Chocolaty – as in rich, velvety qualities
  • Fruity – as in berries
  • Floral – sweet, soft smells
  • Malty – cereal-like
  • Spicy – peppery or other spice varieties

Body—The perceived heaviness or thickness of a coffee on the tongue constitues its body, This will still be present after the coffee has been swallowed. Body is actually microparticles of insoluble coffee fiber suspended in water. The amount and type of particles vary from one coffee to another.

Complexity—Multiple, pleasurable sensations in the mouth makes up the complexity of a coffee.

Finish—The aftertaste that lingers on your palate after you have swallowed the coffee yields its finish. It is a reflection of the “body”, and therefore, heavier bodied coffees will have a longer finish than lighter bodied coffees.

Flavor—Acidity, body, and aroma all have something to do with the flavor. Some of the terms and categories used to evaluate flavor would include the following.
  • Richness – an interesting, satisfying fullness
  • Complexity – flavor that shifts among pleasurable possibilities, tantalizing and yet not completely revealing itself at any one moment
  • Balance – no one quality overwhelms another

Freshness—Green (or unroasted) coffee beans have a nearly indefinite shelf life. Once roasted, however, all coffees will immediately begin to deteriorate in flavor and will lose their freshness after about ten days. We roast only what we will use or sell within a few days, guaranteeing our customers the freshest coffee available whether by the cup or by the pound.

Strength—We don’t use this term to describe coffee, since all coffees can be rendered either strong or weak, depending on the amount of water used. The more water used, the weaker the coffee becomes. Other factors which affect the strength of any brew are the temperature of the water and the grind that is used.

Strong—We use this term to refer to the degree of various flavors and aromas esperienced. It does not mean it contains more caffeine.

Winy—A pleasantly dry and wine-like aftertaste present in some of the more acidic coffees constitutes its winy quality. This pungency can add to the complexity of the overall taste experience.