Understanding Coffee: What are tasting notes?

“Fruity”?…Um no maybe “Caramel” should do.. Wait, there is “Milk Chocolate” too..

Well…well..Relatable enough?

We often find ourselves perplexed upon going through the different tasting notes while trying to buy coffee. Well, it definitely is confusing making our coffee buying experience a tad more time taking. Trust me, this is an experience most of us can relate to!

These tasting notes, such as “fruity” or “caramel” might seem strange in the beginning and people tend to draw a misconception about the fact that these are the added flavours to the beans. It might seem a little difficult at first, which is why we recommend you to read through the rest of the blog.

What are tasting notes?

Let’s get it clear here, tasting notes are just descriptors and not added flavours. 

Coffee has a complex blend of multiple inherent flavours based on how it is grown and processed. Coffee preferences of people are mostly based on two factors – aroma and taste. So taste notes are basically just quick guides to the aroma and taste profile of the coffee. These aroma profiles along with flavour profiles, help differentiate different types of coffee and roasts. Light roasted coffees tend to maintain higher levels of the distinguishing notes as compared to darker roasted coffees which often start tasting similar. Other aspects that influence the aroma are brewing methods, origin of the coffee, the flora and fauna that surrounds the coffee plants, processing methods and a myriad of other factors.

Clear up till here?

Let’s try to understand it better. 

Coffee will at the end of the day taste like coffee itself, you need not worry about that. Taste notes are just subtle deviations from the normal taste of the coffee. That is the reason I insisted upon not considering these taste notes as flavours

For example, you end up buying a coffee with the taste note of melon. The coffee will not taste like melon or fruit juice for that matter. Rather it will just have a hint of sweetness and fruity flavour and still taste like the coffee you know. 

The Coffee Taster’s Flavour Wheel

The Tasting Note Wheel

This wheel was created by Speciality Coffee Association and World Coffee Research to better organize and catalogue the flavours found in coffee. This flavour wheel is nothing but sort of a map wherein your coffee is the starting point and your preferred tasting note will be the destination. To understand using the wheel better, start from the centre from more general flavours and head outward towards the specific tasting notes. For example, if I start from ‘nut’, my tasting preference would land me to ‘hazelnut’. 

It All Comes Down To Preferences!

Deciding on the right tasting note which fits best for you can be overwhelming in the beginning. I would suggest first understanding your coffee preference by paying attention when you drink your coffee and concentrate on the taste. 

Notes of ‘Vanilla’? As you take your sip, see if you can actually figure out the taste. I recommend you do this because everyone’s taste differs and it’s absolutely okay if you don’t find the hint of vanilla in your coffee even if the tasting notes say it!

Now since you have a fair idea of where these tasting notes come from and how to pick, on THE ONE, it is time to experiment by trying out different tasting notes and appreciate your coffee! 
You can now find yourself some great coffee here by actually searching for coffee-based upon filters on tasting notes. Need more help? Reach out to us directly on whatsapp to get a personal recommendation. It will only make your coffee search much easier and faster. And not to mention, you are now definitely one notch up in the world of coffee!  


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