Floral, Nutty, Fruity?
I’ve learned to start pretty generally with a question like this when narrowing down on what someone may like for their coffee. Home brewed coffee is such a personal thing when it comes to flavour, especially seeing as it’s not being directly prepared by the barista’s who have been taught to dial in the coffee to bring out specific ‘notes’ (Notes being quick guides to smells, taste, and mouth feel based on the sweetness, bitterness, and sourness of the bean).
Especially if all you have as an indicator is light, medium, or dark, it can be tough narrowing down what you might like in coffee. Although those indicators are great starts for when aligning with certain tasting notes, regions can carry some commonalities.
Most Common Floral Notes
Ethiopia: jasmine, bergamot, rose
Rwanda: orange blossom
Most Common Fruit Notes
Ethiopia: blueberry, strawberry
Rwanda: lemon, dates, melon, stone fruits
Costa Rica: apricot, tropical fruits
Guatemala: green apple
Peru: plum, sweet citrus
Most Common Nutty/Fuller Notes
Costa Rica: dark chocolate, brown sugar
Guatemala: mild chocolate, cocoa, toffee
Nicaragua: chocolate, sweet caramel, nuts
Indonesia: earthy, spiced, smokey cocoa
Find other common notes here.
Like most things coffee related, it’s simple yet not. While I can break apart the most common tasting notes found in regional coffee, there can be variants in where that tasting note is found. It may be an aroma, a lingering after-taste, what the mouth-feel may be, what notes the roaster chooses to emphasize or what the coffee’s drying process is. This is an overall idea though to what sort of sits where!
Experiment away if you feel open to most and any flavours! This is a great time to pick a few that range quite differently flavour wise. It may take some time to recognize specific listed tasting notes, but a bag of coffee listed with notes of hibiscus, apricot, and marmalade will taste much different then one that has notes of walnut, rich, and chocolate.
What about my classic dark roast?
The idea of coffee being light, medium, or dark isn’t lost when tasting notes are introduced. Typically, lighter roasted coffees lie within the fruitier and pleasantly acidic side of the spectrum, Luna and Monogram Coffee are both known for nailing their light roasts. Medium can range within the florals and caramelized flavours, depending on medium light/medium dark you can also start getting those milk chocolate and nuttier profiles. An example of those are our single origin Rwanda and our blend The Ghost! These two will carry differently whether made as an espresso or milk based drink. Calgary Heritage Roasting Company aligns great with their outdoor roasting roots with a fantastic medium/dark. Darker roasts will tend to taste earthier and carry dark chocolate notes, sometimes referred to as full bodied. Kicking Horse falls into the darker side of roasts, and while Rosso Coffee Roasters doesn’t tend to roast dark, the Tipping Point carries notes that showcases the classic comfort of a great dark roast.
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