Taster’s Dictionary

Acidity High acid (or acidity) coffees have a sharp, vibrant quality related to
the flavor of coffee that gives them snap, verve, and liveliness in the
Aftertastes Lingering taste sensation on the palate after the coffee is
Aroma Refers to the wonderful odor of the prepared coffee beverage.
It may range from delicate to strong,and distinctive as to flavor.
Baked A taste description given to under-roasted coffee, or coffee roasted too slowly at too low a temperature, so that the flavor is underdeveloped. See Green.
Bitter A harsh, unpleasant taste detected on the back of the tongue. Commonly found in over-extracted brews as well as in over-roasted coffees.
Burnt A bitter flavor commonly found in dark-roasted coffees.
Buttery Said of an oily body or texture in the mouth; denotes full and rich flavor.
Cinnamon Underlying spice accent sometimes detected in the aroma of fine coffee; a flavor nuance. (Also, a very light roast).
Clean Characteristic used to describe fine coffees; associated with washed coffees.
Cocoa Underlying spice accent sometimes detected in the aroma of fine coffee; a flavor nuance. (Also, a characteristic
sweetish smell of completely stale roasted coffee; see Stale.)
Dirty An undesirable unclean smell and taste; slight to pronounced. Dirty implies a defect, such as mustiness or earthy.
Earthy A highly undesirable dirt odor and flavor taint picked up by the coffee when dried on the ground.
Flat A dull, lifeless quality due largely to lack of acidity.
Flavor (a) The total impression of aroma, acidity, and body; if the impression is strong and pleasant, the coffee is described as flavorful and ranked on a scale from poor, fair, good, to fine-flavored.(b) Specific taste flavors may suggest spices, chocolate, nuts, leather, or something less complimentary: straw, grass, earth, rubber, etc.
Fresh Opposite of stale; applies to roasted coffee beans.
Fruity A flavor taint said to come from overripe fruit pulp.
Grassy A flavor taint from use of swamp water for washing, or from improper drying.
Green (a) A flavor taint found in coffee harvested before fully ripe.(b) Characteristic taste of under-roasted coffee.
Hard Opposite of sweet or mild; also harsh.
Harsh Having a crude, raw taste;used to describe Brazils and robustas.
Hidy Smell of hides from improper storage.
Mellow Full, well-balanced, satisfying coffee; implies low to medium acidity.
Musty A smell and taste taint caused by mildew; similar to earthy.
Natural Aroma and flavor characteristics of coffees processed by the dry method. Typically, these are more bland than washed coffees and may lack clarity of flavor and pointed acidity; some, however, may have intense complex flavors and full,thick body.
Neutral A characterless, flavorless coffee, inoffensive to insipid; without virtue, but without defect;safe for economical blending.
Nutty (a) Often said of coffees that lack coffee flavor.(b) A specific flavor nuance, suggesting almonds and the like.
Past-croppish Not to be confused with stale. Term used to describe coffees that have deteriorated in the green state before roasting and thus taste as though they were from a past crop.
Rancid Extremely sour, unpleasant.
Rio-y A harsh, heavy medicinal flavor typical of the poorest grades of Brazils but encountered in other coffees as well; said to be caused by allowing berries to dry on the tree.
Rubbery Burnt-rubber odor characteristic of Robusta.
Soft Low-acid coffees are described as soft, mellow, and sweet.
Sour Not to be confused with acidity.A distinctly rand or rancid taste is a defect, often due to improper processing.
Spicy Said of fine aroma or flavor suggestive of spices.
Stale Roasted coffee that has faded in quality after excessive exposure to air.
Strong A term used to indicate intensity of either defects or virtues (as in ‘a strong, sour taste’ or ‘a strong, fine aroma’). A strong-flavored coffee is not necessarily a fine-flavored coffee.
Sweet Said of a smooth, palatable coffee, free from taints or harshness; also soft.
Thin Said of coffees with watery body and lack of flavor.
Wild Coffees with extreme flavor characteristics. These characteristics may be intriguing or undesirable.
Winy Sometimes used to indicate thick body and mellow quality, but also used to denote a sappy, vinous acidity; a characteristic of certain fine coffees.
Woody A flavor taint caused by over-lengthy storage in warm, moist wood sheds.