Roasted coffee is one of the most complex foodstuffs on earth in terms of flavour profile. To date there have been over 800 aromatic compounds identified as contributing to the flavour of your favourite cup (compared to, say, vanilla which has had c.170 identified). It is this array of aromatic compounds combined with certain taste sensations (sweet, sour, salty etc.) that make up the flavour profile of coffee, or anything for that matter.
Each coffee that crosses our path is going to taste a little different from the next due to a long list of factors. Everything from the coffee’s varietal, what country and region it was grown in, the altitude of the farm, the time of year it was harvested, how it was processed and treated after harvest will impact the way the coffee in your cup will taste.
The way that we at Coffee Supreme, and coffee professionals in general, describe coffee follows an industry established methodology. In truth it’s one that has been largely borrowed from our friends in the wine industry as they have been in the business of describing flavour for a little longer than us.
We break the overall coffee profile down into bite-sized chunks, as it were, and assess each aspect separately. These are aroma, flavour, acidity, body or mouthfeel, and finish.
We assess all these components through a technique we call cupping, which is basically a tasting performed under controlled circumstances. We try to treat it at least vaguely scientifically and give each coffee the respect and attention it and its grower deserve.
In an effort to create a neutral playing field, a coffee is roasted to a degree where its natural characters are fully developed but not so dark that the actual roasting process adds a flavour taint. We then sniff, brew, and slurp a coffee until we’re satisfied we’ve got a good handle on it. Once we think we understand what’s going on in the cup, we then have to describe it so you, our customers, can make the call on whether it is something you might enjoy along with us.
For the everyday coffee drinker, the most important of the 5 categories that we appraise is going to be flavour. Our roasters will collate their cupping findings and identify the 3 key flavour notes in each coffee we retail. As complex as coffee can be we try to limit the amount of flavour descriptors we use to 3 as to not overload the coffee drinker with too much information.
Our roasters do not possess super-human capabilities (how exactly do you find stewed apricots in a coffee?) nor do they make this stuff up. They’ve just been doing it for quite a while and the longer you do something you generally become quite efficient at it. Gradually, the more they, or anyone, tastes coffee the less it tastes like coffee and the more it tastes like an intriguing combination of everyday foodstuffs.
Every coffee we sell has an accompanying tasting card that goes with it. You can have this free tasting card sent with every coffee order made on our website by selection the tasting card option when viewing your shopping cart. Every one of our coffees also has full cupping results published on its product page, listing our roasters' notes for aroma, acidity, body and finish along with the 3 most prominent flavour notes.
If you have any questions about our coffee or other products, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Coffee Specialist team: firstname.lastname@example.org or NZ free phone 0800 472 5188.