What do our flavour notes mean?

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Great Pact Coffee without the snobberyThe very idea of describing how a coffee tastes using ‘proper’ terms is pretty intimidating for most of us. But at Pact we’re all about great coffee without the snobbery, so we thought we’d give you some handy words to enable you to hold your own with those snobs!

Watermelons, Granny Smith apples and sunflower seeds are some flavours we’ve been able to detect in the Pact Coffees we’ve stocked in the past.

But let’s start with the basics first.

Below you’ll find a list of commonly-detected flavours that really good coffees can exhibit. Time for a taste test to see what delights your latest Pact delivery contains…

Bright: Coffees with a pleasant flavour that’s verging on tangy, sometimes with an acidy that makes you think of wine.

Caramelly: A syrup like flavour, that’s caused by the sugars in the coffee oxidising and becoming caramelised.

Carbony / Burnt / Smoky: Flavour that’s characteristic of burnt food, or burnt wood, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Carbon-like flavours often indicate the amount the coffee has been roasted.

Chocolatey: Some Central American and Yemeni coffees have a distinctly chocolatey aroma – and a slightly bitter-sweet chocolatey taste to go with it.

Citrus: The taste of ripe citrus fruit. (The negative side of citrus, when the coffee flavour tastes ‘unripe’, is described as sour.)

Clean: Full of flavour, but without any pungent or unusual notes.

Fruity: Many coffees have fruity notes, which isn’t really surprising given coffee beans are actually seeds from the coffee cherry fruit. A coffee’s acidity is often related to fruit, or citrus.

Mellow: Balanced and mild without a particularly strong taste or aftertaste. Coffee that is grown less than 4,000 feet above sea level tends to have a more mellow flavour.

Smooth / Round / Rounded / Soft: A coffee that is smooth tends to be balanced without any overwhelming tastes or aftertastes.

Spicy: Spicy refers to sweet spices, such as cloves and cinnamon, rather than savoury spices such as pepper, oregano and curry.

3 thoughts on “What do our flavour notes mean?

  1. I must be honest, having made it with 2 and a half heaped tbsp I thought it would be nice and strong but was disappointed. Black or with milk very wishy washy??

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