Four Major Characteristics of Coffee

Like the four seasons, Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall, coffee too has its four (4) major seasons or characteristics...


Aroma is a combination of what we taste and what we smell. The Aroma of coffee can be floral, like a rose or wine like Merlot. Words used to describe a coffee's aroma include: exotic, floral, wine like, earthy, fruity, pungent, sweet and clean.


Acidity is the lively, palate cleansing property characteristic of all high-grown coffee. Acidity like sweetness is tasted primarily on the sides of the tongue and may range from low to high. Acidity should hit on the sides of the tongue and sometimes on the back of the jaw bone and may range from low to high. It is the "tartness" or "tanginess" felt in the mouth. Words which describe acidity include: Bright, tangy, sparkling and crisp (for coffees high in acidity like Kenya and Costa Rica)


Body is the thickness or weight of the beverage on the tongue. It is the lingering after-taste felt on the tongue long after the beverage is gone. It ranges from light to full. It varies between coffees and also with brewing methods used. For example French Press brew is heavier-bodied than drip coffee. Coffees from the Indonesian Islands (Sumatra, Java, and Celebes) have a heavier body than South and Central American coffees.


Refers to the total impression of the previous three factors of aroma, acidity and body. Words that describe a coffee's flavor include: chocolaty, nutty, wine like, fruity, spicy, woody, earthy and smokey.

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