Rich Tasting Notes

Here at Smokey Barn Roasters, we’re often asked what on Earth it is the world’s coffee-types are talking about when they bring up the abundance of ‘rich tasting notes’ in their java of choice. Well, the simple answer is that just as is the case with wines…or at least decent wines…no two coffees have exactly that same flavour which means that those who are able to tune their taste buds to specific flavour ‘notes’ can identify a million and one different flavour profiles the rest would generally ignore.

You know when you gulp a glass of red wine only to be told it has notes of basil and black cherries…even though you’d be inclined to disagree? It’s the very same thing with coffee – which sort of makes sense as if there weren’t thousands of different notes and combinations to pick up, there’d really only be the need for one brand and type of coffee for the whole world!


Is It Necessary?

Perhaps the most important question of all is that of whether it’s really necessary to go so deep and thoughtful when it comes to enjoying high quality coffee. Funnily enough, the answer is no – just as long as you enjoy what you’re drinking, it really doesn’t matter how you drink it or how long and hard you think about it. Whether you’re into the finest speciality coffee beans from the other side of the world or the cheapest instant your local store sells doesn’t matter – your enjoyment is what counts.

Of course, there’s always the argument that you really won’t know how deeply wonderful coffee can be until you take the time to pick it apart and go deep, which does indeed hold a deal of truth. We select our gourmet coffee beans in accordance with multiple criteria and one of these is very much the kind of rich tasting notes that are guaranteed to blow away first-time coffee fans and connoisseurs alike.


Blagging It

For some, becoming a sommelier of the coffee world comes naturally…others however will spend their whole lives wondering what the heck their coffee-geek counterparts are talking about. The good news however is that there’s always room for blagging it, which means that even if you aren’t quite able to pick up the same notes and nuances as the coffee snob next to you, you can at least arm yourself with a knowledge of what they’re talking about.

Never forget that much of the art of coffee tasting comes down to taking in its aromas, so don’t be afraid to give it a long and hard sniff before even thinking about gulping it down. You might feel silly at first, but you’ll be surprised at how doing so can make that fresh roasted coffee taste even better than you imagined.

So, as far as those tasting notes and various other examples of coffee-lover lingo are concerned, here’s a quick overview to clarify the basics:

  • Flavour
    The overall flavour of the coffee itself when taking into account its aroma and the combination of all the notes you pick up while drinking it.
  • Body
    This refers to the actual ‘feel’ of the coffee in your mouth, meaning its texture, weight and the sensation with each sip.
  • Acidity
    Just like wine, coffees tend to have their own unique levels of acidity which depending on the type of bean and roast can make or break the overall pleasantness of drinking it.
  • Berry/Citrus
    slight tastes of citrus or fruity berry flavours.
  • Bitter
    Coffees that are roasted for longer tend to come out much more bitter than their counterparts.
  • Buttery
    Some coffees have a rich and oily feel in the mouth not dissimilar to butter
  • Caramel
    Syrupy sweet notes that taste a little like melted sugar
  • Chocolatey
    Self explanatory when the taste of dark chocolate presents itself in a coffee.
  • Clean
    The opposite to a coffee that tastes dry in the mouth.
  • Dry
    The kind of note that appears to leave the mouth drier after the sip has been swallowed.
  • Earthy
    A note akin to wet earth or soil.
  • Flat
    A coffee with no sense of acidity at all.
  • Floral
    Notes that convey the taste or smell of flowers.
  • Fruity
    A hint of any kind of fruit.
  • Nutty
    When a note of nuttiness is detected, usually akin to hazelnuts or peanuts.
  • Rich
    Plenty of notes and depth, complex flavour and a deeply rich taste.
  • Smoky
    A note of burned or charred wood that’s picked up by smell and taste alike.
  • Spicy
    A type of coffee that leaves a hot and spicy note in the mouth, or perhaps is reminiscent of spices like cinnamon or nutmeg.

And there you have it – all you need to do now is invest in some super premium coffee beans and fake it ‘til you make it!

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