The Blend

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Blog

a freshly brewed french press of Ethiopia coffee next to a bed

Coffee Tasting Notes: What to Look For in Your Coffee


When you browse the colorful bags of ground and whole bean coffee available in store or online at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® you’ll read vivid descriptors of what to expect from that cup of coffee. These coffee tasting notes aren’t simply for marketing — they contextualize each coffee and help you better select the perfect blend for your daily blast of energy.

Coffee is a complex beverage: more than 1,000 chemicals affect the aromas and flavors, creating cups that vary between sweet and sour, delicate to dense, nutty to fruity. Coffee notes don’t indicate added flavors, but rather the types of flavors and smells evoked by the coffee. A coffee’s flavor profile is affected by the country of origin, the varietal, the harvest season, and the method of growing.


Aroma and Taste

Coffee professionals assess the aroma of coffee multiple times over the course of the coffee cupping process. You will experience different aromas freshly after grinding your coffee and once you begin the brewing process. Here you will be able to detect nutty, floral, or fruity fragrances.

Coffee experts will actually slurp coffee to coat their entire tongue to relish every aspect and nuance of the taste. Using all of your tongue’s surface area will enable you to detect hints of tobacco or orange or vanilla.

Try It With The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf®


We walk the walk here at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf®, so we’ll break down how to quickly use coffee tasting notes using one of our signature coffees.

Our Kenyan AA Coffee yields a complex, fruity, light, and very bright cup. Right away you expect a fruity flavor, specifically citrus. The body is light as opposed to full and heavy. A “bright” coffee is vibrant and crisp in contrast with a muted or dull one. The Kenyan AA Coffee also boasts a gusty, wine-like acidity.


The Flavor Wheel


The Speciality Coffee Association (SCA) created the Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel back in 1995, which received a facelift just a few years ago. This visual guide to coffee flavors is a great visual aid when you first taste a new brew — follow from the center to narrow down a fruity aroma to a berry taste to a blueberry flavor, and so forth. Pull it up on your smartphone for a quick reference next time you’re at your favorite coffee shop (which, come on, has to be The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf®). 


Each time you order a new coffee from The Coffee Bean® read the coffee notes to prep your palette. Our Papua New Guinea Sigri Coffee contains a spicy, full body, while our Brazil Dark Roast Coffee holds a bold aroma, earthy flavor and bittersweet finish. Next time you walk up to the counter be bold with your order, and slurp your coffee like a pro to determine what flavors and aromas are in your cup!