Coffee is an obsession of many, but it’s more than just a cup that could help kickstart your morning. Now that high-quality coffee is more accessible, many people are curious to learn more about this magical brew and why each coffee tastes unique.
Whether you're a coffee newbie or you've been an enthusiast for years, keeping a coffee journal can expand your palate and help you pin down coffee flavors you appreciate. Besides that, you'll better understand why a certain coffee from different regions tastes a certain way and identify patterns that could give clues on how coffee beans are farmed, extracted, and served.
If you want to develop your coffee palate and interpret its language, having a deeper appreciation of your brew is important — and the best way to do that is by keeping a journal. If you're curious to know what you should start jotting down, here's a brief overview of how to start a coffee journal:
Defining the Big Three
When it comes to tasting and learning coffee, three key points create the character of the cup.
- Taste: Taste is the biggest characteristic of your cup that you should take notice of. It is the sensation experienced by your tongue and will define your cup through its saltiness, sweetness, bitterness, sourness, and savoriness.
- Aroma: Another thing you want to notice when drinking specialty coffee is its aroma. This is because most of what we experience as a flavor profile comes from the coffee's aroma, which also allows you to differentiate flavors.
- Flavor: Finally, the last of the big three is the combination of aroma and taste, giving you a fantastic experience of a unique cup.
How to Describe the Coffee You're Tasting
1. Take Note of Its Body
When it comes to describing a cup's body, you're talking about the coffee’s thickness, mouthfeel, and intensity of the flavors as it feels on the palate during consumption. This characteristic can be described as light and thin or heavy and full. Coffee is said to be full-bodied if it has a lingering taste, and one that lacks body is thin and watery.
So a rule of thumb is, if you feel like you can chew on your coffee, your coffee has body. But if it doesn't linger, that means your coffee lacks body.
2. Notice Its Acidity and Balance
All coffees have some sort of acidity and when you have the perfect amount of acidity, it means your cup has the perfect balance of all the flavors in your cup. With that being said, it's important to notice the play of flavors and if they balance each other out.
3. Experience a Clean Cup
When you have a trained tongue, and you've tasted a variety of coffees, there are times when you'll experience unpleasant cups. This is where a clean cup comes in, which plays a greater role than meets the eye in providing a proper taste test.
This means that you shouldn't be tasting any coffee defects, bagginess, paper flavors, staleness, fruity-fermenty flavors, earthy flavors or other off notes. This is important as it lets you know the quality and state of the coffee you are enjoying.
The Bottom Line: Keeping Coffee Fieldnotes Can Help You With Your Coffee Journey
The great thing about keeping a coffee journal is that it allows you to have a deeper connection with specialty coffee. With a journal, you can note all the flavor nuances of each coffee from different regions, how a roast profile affects the flavors, and the different coffees you prefer.
Where Can I Find the Best Coffee to Kickstart My Journal?
If you're interested in starting your coffee journal, it's always a good idea to try to put in some of the best coffees as your first entries. Kunjani is a small-batch, specialty coffee shop and roastery, so give us a shot for your coffee fix!
We focus on sustainable efforts, consistent roasting, and ethical practices from sourcing to roasting our coffees. Take the best coffee home and start your morning right with us — check out our specialty coffee store today!