What are tasting notes and where do they come from? We've shared the background on how we choose the flavors notes you see on our coffee bags, but we want to give you a chance to explore and describe what you taste when drinking coffee.
The Counter Culture Coffee Taster's Flavor Wheel is a great tool to calibrate your palate. It provides a common language of descriptors for coffee, with references for sweets, fruits, spices, and much more. If there’s a flavor on the wheel you haven’t experienced, you can probably find a reference on the shelf of your local supermarket.
Our coffee-buying team created this resource in 2013 as an aid to all coffee tasters. While one coffee flavor wheel already existed, its references included a number of esoteric notes beyond what a casual consumer would taste in a coffee. The resulting tool is a guide that’s as accessible as it is thorough.
To use the wheel, start in the center as you taste your coffee. Does the coffee taste like fruit? Is it sweet and sugary? Is it nutty? Find a descriptor in the inner ring, then move outward to become more specific with your notes. If you find your coffee nutty, does it remind you more of pecan or almond? Remember, there are no wrong answers—associative tasting is based on your personal database of aromas and flavors.
Our Taster’s Flavor Wheel is available in English and Spanish. It is a free tool for non-commercial use. Please include appropriate credit when shared and indicate if changes were made.