Pro tasting tips for the coffee conniseur

There is a lot to love about coffee: the taste, texture, blend and kick; but there is also a lot to learn about coffee, especially if you want to be a connoisseur of a fine brew.

The team at My Kingdom for a Horse are passionate about serving quality specialty coffee, and they are dedicated to making sure every cup is the perfect cup.

In order to serve the very best, the beans at the Kingdom are specialty grade, which means they score higher than 80 according to the SCCA’s scale out of 100 for flavour and aroma.

The coffee at the Adelaide café is seasonal, so owner and operator Emily Raven buys beans from each coffee producing country as they become available. This means many of the coffees at My Kingdom for a Horse are very limited.

You can become coffee connoisseurs like the team at MKH by following a few simple tasting tips:

1.   Focus on fragrance
The aroma of the coffee will tell you a story about the beans and brew. Incidentally, ‘fragrance’ refers to the scent of dry coffee, and ‘aroma’ is the term we use for wet coffee. There is often a distinct difference between the characteristics in freshly ground coffee and once water has been added. What we smell is what we taste, so the fragrance of the coffee is very telling.

2.   Fancy the flavour
Flavour represents the full characteristics of the coffee: the combination of taste in your mouth and the smell of aroma will give you a precise evaluation of your coffee.

3.   About that acidity
How’s that acidity? Some coffee has a flat, clean acidity, while some can be quite citrusy in nature. The acidity is that sharpness in the back of your throat and it ranges from lively or bright, to flat and dull. Interestingly, the darker the roast, the less the acidity.

4.   Better with body?
The physical feel and texture of a coffee is called the ‘body’. A coffee’s body is its thickness. This is due to the amount of dissolved solids extracted from the ground beans. It can be light, medium or full, and can range from thin, syrupy and watery to thick, syrupy and creamy. Body is also known as ‘mouthfeel’.  

5.   Is it intense?

Measuring the intensity of the coffee is tasting the coffee’s aggression. This is to say, where does it sit on a scale of mild to intense? How powerful is the taste, fragrance, aroma and body?

6.   How sweet it is

Some coffees are sweet, whereas others can be quite earthy. A low level of bitterness can often counteracts the acidity, which can improve a brew. Bitterness is that strong aftertaste on the back of the tongue which can be sweet, zesty or dry.

7.   Finish first

The finish of the coffee is that final taste that can either linger in your mouth after swallow (long finish) or vanish immediately (short finish). Observe what you taste in the finish; are the subtle notes most obvious? If so, that’s a fine cup of coffee you’ve got there!

8.   The balancing act

The balance is where you evaluate how all the flavour elements in your coffee balance together. This is where you can assess if one characteristic dominates or whether the blend of flavours complement each other.

If you are a coffee lover, join the club! By subscribing to MKH’s coffee clan, you can choose your brew and have it delivered right to your doorstep.

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