An Introduction to Coffee Flavour Profiles

An Introduction to Coffee Flavour Profiles

If you’re a coffee aficionado, or aspiring to be one, there are plenty of tasting notes to focus on. Here's where to start.

We don’t blame you if you’re too tired to give much thought to how your morning cup of coffee tastes, so long as it delivers that much-needed shot of caffeine.

But if you want to dive deep into the flavour details of your brew, there’s plenty to focus on beyond knowing the basics.

Coffee flavour sounds simple, but can actually be broken down a lot — like into the basic categories below. As you read on, try to imagine tasting each kind of flavour and decide to what degree you like or dislike each category. Be sure to let us know in the comments box below!


A nicely tangy, sharp, wine-like note that’s more prevalent in lighter roasts. Despite the name, it doesn’t have anything to do with actual pH levels, which always hover around 5 or 6 in coffee. Our Panama single origin coffee has hints of grapefruit which gives the coffee a nicely balanced acidity.


Generally undesirable in coffee, except in low doses. Extra dark or over-extracted roasts will usually have this note. Most of the coffees we roast here at King Carlos Coffee are lighter in nature. However, our in house blend Gran Mezcla is a fuller bodied coffee with prevalent earthy flavours.


Indicates the amount of sucrose or fructose in the coffee, which taste like chocolate, fruit, or caramel. For example, our Mexico single origin coffee and its sweet delicate plum notes.


Similar to, but not quite the same as acidity. Acidity is a good thing, but sour notes are more harsh and biting, like tasting vinegar. Balancing the sourness of a coffee can be difficult and often takes many cupping sessions and a refined palette. If you like a bit of bite to your coffee, consider our Killer Ninja blend which achieves a fantastic harmony between citrus and chocolate undertones.


This is an important one. We generally roast fuller bodied coffee here at our roastery warehouse. The body of a coffee, like wine, describes how the coffee feels in your mouth. Thick like whole milk, or thin like water; plus any aftertaste it leaves. If your mouth feels uncomfortably dry after a couple sips, that coffee is called astringent, which is a bad thing.

Breaking down the details

coffee flavour wheel

Find out where your favourite coffee lies in a detailed flavour wheel like this, which can help you better understand and describe the individual flavour preferences.

Brew a cup of the finest King Carlos Coffee, then try to pick out the specific flavours. Get the basic categories above first, then try to filter down the specific notes that the flavour reminds you of. Apricot? Tobacco? Pecans? Even Candied Apple! It's all a bit subjective, sure, but concentrating on the detailed tasting notes will let you appreciate your blend all the better.



Original article written by Andrew Craig for


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