The Coffee Flavor Wheel is a comprehensive guide to coffee flavor and aroma, developed by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) to help coffee professionals identify, describe, and differentiate various coffee flavors and aromas. This wheel is a visual representation of the hundreds of potential coffee flavors and aromas that can be found in coffee beans, from basic tastes such as sweet, sour, and bitter, to more complex flavor notes like fruit, floral, and earthy.
The Coffee Flavor Wheel is divided into eight primary categories: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, nutty, spicy, and floral/fruit. Within each category are subcategories that represent specific flavor notes. For example, within the sweet category, there are subcategories for flavors such as honey, brown sugar, and caramel. Within the floral/fruit category, there are subcategories for specific fruits like citrus, berry, and tropical.
The Coffee Flavor Wheel is a useful tool for coffee professionals because it provides a common language for coffee flavor description. By using the same terms to describe coffee flavor, professionals can more effectively communicate with one another, share feedback, and collaborate on improving coffee quality. For example, when a coffee professional describes a coffee as having a "berry-like" flavor, another professional can immediately understand what type of fruit flavor the coffee has.
In addition, the Coffee Flavor Wheel can be used by coffee buyers to identify the specific flavors they are looking for in a coffee. By using the wheel, buyers can quickly and easily find coffees with the flavors they prefer, and communicate those preferences to suppliers. This helps to ensure that buyers receive coffees that meet their specific flavor requirements, and that suppliers are able to meet those requirements.
Another benefit of the Coffee Flavor Wheel is that it can help coffee professionals to identify and isolate specific coffee defects. For example, if a coffee professional detects a "musty" flavor in a coffee, they can quickly and easily identify that this is a defect, and work to isolate and eliminate the cause. This helps to ensure that only the highest quality coffees are produced, which benefits both buyers and consumers.
In conclusion, the Coffee Flavor Wheel is a valuable tool for coffee professionals. It provides a common language for coffee flavor description, helps buyers and suppliers to communicate effectively, and helps coffee professionals to identify and isolate coffee defects. Whether you are a coffee roaster, taster, or buyer, the Coffee Flavor Wheel is a valuable resource that can help you to better understand coffee flavor and aroma, and improve the quality of coffee.