Easy Coffee Tasting Guide for Beginners

Every type of coffee has a distinct taste. The differences in flavor come from the length and strength of the roasting process, along with the grade of the roast. Often, beginners find it challenging to describe coffee flavors due to their lack of knowledge.

Related read: Light Roast vs. Dark Roast Coffee

Well, there are two simple requirements while tasting coffee. The first one is functional taste buds, and the other is that you should be curious. 

Your curiosity and tastebuds will help you make the right decision. However, if you struggle to know the coffee taste, do not worry because this coffee tasting guide will help you.

Methods of Coffee Tasting

Before you begin tasting the coffee, make sure to keep these five categories in mind to get the best outcome. Following, you will learn about those five categories that will let you easily understand coffee tastes.


Sweetness is one of the easiest ways to know the coffee taste. You will need to keep in mind the sugar quality of the coffee to know its taste. 

While tasting, you should also focus on the type of sugar the coffee reminds you of. Does it have a hard-candy sweetness or a maple sugar sweetness? You can also taste the sweeteners at your home to know more about them. 

Try tasting molasses, white sugar, brown sugar, and honey in sequence. Though all these items are sweet, they still have different tastes. Try to focus on the things that make them different.


Body of the coffee is another category that you should consider to know the coffee taste. By the body of coffee, we mean the weight and feel of the coffee. You will need to put some amount of coffee on your tongue and try to feel it. 

If you regularly drink beverages, it might become easier to differentiate between the lighter and heavier body. Other than this, you can also use milk to know about the body. Try to take a sip of either nonfat milk or skim milk and examine their weight. 

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Notice why these different kinds of milk feel heavier or lighter. Apart from weight, it would be best to focus on why they are thinner or thicker while putting them in your mouth. By knowing these things, it will be convenient to understand the coffee tasting.


If you are a regular coffee drinker, you might be familiar with acidity. Most of the coffee types are acidic and have varying pH levels. Most of the coffee varieties have a pH level from 4.85 to 5.10. 

During the brewing process, most coffee beans release various acids that result in unique flavor. You can compare the acidity spectrum and get an idea of the coffee taste.


To know the coffee taste via flavor, you will need to create a library of flavor references. To increase your flavor library, you will need to taste different items like chocolates, sweets, etc. Make sure to use your tongue surface to detect the correct taste. 

Other than flavor, also focus on the aroma of the coffee. While grinding and brewing the coffee, you may observe a certain aroma. You may recognize different fragrances such as floral, nutty, and fruity. These fragrances will also help you know more about coffee tasting.


In this category, you will need to focus on the result. Focus on what happens after you sip the coffee. What do you taste after taking the first sip in your mouth? 

By doing so, you can get a better idea of the coffee taste. For example, if you compare the taste of Opascope espresso with Hayes Valley espresso, you will notice that Hayes Valley has a sweeter taste. 

On the other hand, the Opascope espresso dissipates more quickly than the Hayes Valley espresso. You can also compare the taste of milk chocolate as well as dark chocolate. Examine which one gives a drier feeling. You will need to practice thinking about the coffee after taking a sip.

How to Properly Smell Coffee?

A coffee smell can also help you have a better idea about the coffee. Knowing the right approach to smell the coffee will make it easier to understand the coffee tasting guide. 

The reason behind it is that the ability to smell also affects the sense of taste. If you have a better ability to smell, your sense of taste will also increase. However, before starting the tasting test, make sure that your nose is clear and free. 

If your nose is free, you will easily be able to smell and breathe. Other than this, you will also need to learn about a few other categories of coffee before you begin to understand different aromas. Following are the three categories within which the coffee smell gets divided.


Like cherries, the coffee beans are also fruit seeds, due to which you might get a fruit-like aroma from the coffee beans. These aromas are known as enzymatic properties. With these enzymatic properties of coffee, you can discover the coffee aroma.

Sugar Browning

Sugar browning is another category that happens because of sugar and amino acids. When the mix-up of sugar and amino acid occurs in the heat, the chemical reaction also happens. It will result in certain aromas similar to toasted nuts or cocoa. 

Some of these smells are also like pastries being baked. Various coffees produce varying levels of browning. Therefore, you should also question what sort of sugar browning aroma is generated once you make coffee.

Dry Distillation

When the coffee roasting takes place, the burning of fibrous bean material also happens in the roaster. Due to this, unique aromas are produced, which is similar to pipe tobacco or wood. 

You may also notice a leather or clove smell in a few other types of coffee. These aromas are known as dry distillation. The roasting process is the prime reason that gives rise to these unique scents. 

If you use a darker roast, you will get a stronger dry distillation scent. In comparison to the lighter roast, the darker roast takes more time during the process.

Rules of Getting Coffee Taste Good

Every coffee lover wants to get the best-tasting coffee. Due to lack of experience and a not better understanding of the coffee, most people end up making bitter or sour coffee. If you are also struggling to attain a good coffee taste, do not worry because here are some of the rules you should follow to get the best coffee taste.

Do not Use Sad Coffee Beans

If you want to get a good coffee, you should focus on getting high-quality coffee beans. Delicious coffee is usually a result of good coffee beans. The coffee bean is an agricultural product that grows in a different environment, due to which you might notice diversity in flavor. 

Some of the coffee beans might be good, while others may not. Do not go for sad coffee beans if you want to attain the best-tasting coffee. You can use low-grade beans for preparing instant coffee.

On the other hand, if you desire to enjoy the best-tasting coffee, go for specialty coffee. The specialty-grade coffee is usually a high-quality coffee that results in delicious coffee. 

On trying the specialty coffee, you will notice a natural sugar taste. Also, you can enjoy various wild flavors with specialty coffee, and the best thing is its clean acidity. Further, try only to choose freshly roasted coffee beans. Each of the coffee beans remains fresh for a particular period. 

Try using the coffee bean within 2 to 3 weeks. The reason is that the coffee beans have a peak freshness for only 2 to 3 weeks. After that, you may notice a decline in the flavor of the coffee. Therefore, you should prefer specialty coffee and try to avoid the use of sad coffee beans.

Choose the Correct Coffee Brewer

Most people ignore the coffee brewer and brew method, which is another reason for achieving a bland taste of coffee. To get the best taste from a coffee, you should only choose the right coffee brewer. 

Some people usually go for cheap coffee pots to prepare the coffee, which sometimes might not give the desired outcome. The reason is that such coffee pots have massive faults. 

Some of these coffee pots might not reach the ideal brewing temperature. Other than this, you might also end up achieving an underdeveloped and sour flavor by using such coffee pots. 

Besides, you can also go for a manual coffee pot as it will give you complete control. Unlike a normal coffee pot, you can adjust the brewing recipe and the water temperature as per your need. 

The manual coffee maker will also let you adjust your technique to attain better flavor. Another reason to choose a manual coffee maker is that it will give you a better-tasting coffee. The process used in such a coffee machine and a coffee pot is quite similar, but you will surely get a different outcome.

Use Better Water

Most coffee lovers ignore this factor which is not a good approach. There is around 98% of water in coffee, so do not think that water will also impact the coffee taste? 

Well, yes, water does affect the taste of the coffee, due to which you should also focus on adding better water. Minerals present in the water will help you add flavor to the coffee. 

Other than the quality, the quantity of water also plays a vital role in deciding the taste of the coffee. Therefore, you should choose the best quality of water and the right quantity to get the best outcome. 

Try to avoid the use of hard water in your coffee. Hard water might give a dull and lifeless brew that you will never want. Besides, magnesium and calcium in hard water are another reason that alters the coffee taste. 

If you plan to use hard water, make sure to filter it first. Filtering it will help you remove unnecessary minerals from the hard water. Furthermore, you should also be familiar with the fact that if you use bad quality water, you might end up harming your health.

Choose Correct Coffee to Water Ratio

Correct coffee to water ratio is another essential thing that you should focus on while making a coffee. Most beginners question how much coffee ground or water should be used in a single cup of coffee? Well, it is not that difficult. 

If you are using 1 gram of coffee, we suggest you use around 15 to 18 grams of water. Most of the experts will agree with this ratio, and it will give you a better-tasting coffee. 

Coffee like Arabica also uses this coffee to water ratio. If you use the right balance of water and coffee, you will achieve better strength and flavor. 

The right coffee to water ratio will give you a balanced strength that will not be too strong or weak. Other than this, the coffee to water ratio will help you attain a balanced extraction. You will achieve an outcome that will not be too bitter or too sour.


Aroma, finish, flavor, body, and acidity are some of the prime tasting characteristics that will let you know about coffee tasting. Other than this, you will need to focus on the coffee smell to understand its taste better. 

You may notice a nutty, floral, spicy, or earthy taste of coffee when trying different types. However, keep in mind that distinctive aromas are because of the coffee flavor. Each coffee with a different flavor might produce a distinct aroma. 

Other than this, you should also focus on the sweetness of the coffee. While tasting the coffee, make sure to check the quality and the quality of sugar used in coffee. 

On trying different types of coffees, you might end up experiencing maple sugar sweetness or hard-candy sweetness. This difference in sweetness might be because of the sugar added to coffee. Besides, the correct coffee will help you enjoy a better aftertaste as well.

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