If you start your day with coffee on a regular basis, then you know that it doesn’t taste the same everywhere you go. Whether you brew your own coffee, get it from a cafe on your way to work, or you get coffee from the breakroom at work, there are different words to describe coffee from each place.
Professional coffee tasters have an expansive coffee vocabulary, and experts have many words to describe this essential beverage; for this reason, we have decided to share some of these words with you.
These words to describe coffee will help you express your experience with coffee like a professional, so let’s take a look:
8 words to describe coffee aroma
Coffee usually has a very noticeable aroma, and it is one of the first things that you will notice before tasting the coffee. Here are eight of the best words to describe coffee aroma:
Caramelly coffees fall under the sugar-browning category of coffee aromas. It is good to use when the coffee smells kind of like, or a lot like, caramel.
If you’ve never smelt caramel, it has a very sweet smell like candy or syrup. Here is one way that you can describe it:
E.g. “My favorite part of the day is going to Brown’s Coffee House so that I can inhale all of the sweet smells. My favorite smell is the caramelly coffee.”
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Chocolaty coffee is also found under the sugar-browning category of coffee aromas. The result is a chocolate-like amora.
The smell isn’t necessarily like the chocolate bars that you can buy on the shelf. In fact, the coffee can smell like unsweetened chocolate, cocoa, or even vanilla.
E.g. “Nothing like a strong, chocolaty-smelling coffee to open your senses in the morning.”
Coffee aromas can also be enzymatic, meaning they are herbal, fruity, or flowery. A citrus coffee will smell like citrus fruits, such as lemon or fresh apples.
E.g. “This citrus brew smells like a bowl of freshly-picked lemons.”
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Fragrant coffees fall under the enzymatic category. A fragrant coffee is one that smells a bit like coriander seeds, cardamom, or caraway.
If you think your coffee is fragrant, here’s one way that you can state it:
E.g. “I like the fragrant aroma from this brew. It reminds me of my mother’s spice cupboard.”
Fruity coffee aromas also fall under the enzymatic category. However, this doesn’t mean the coffee smells like tulips or lavender.
Fruity coffees typically smell like coffee blossoms or tea rose. Here’s how you can say it:
E.g. “Where did you buy that coffee? Its fruity aroma is making me crave a cup.”
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Nutty coffee falls under the sugar-browning category, and it will smell like roasted peanuts or walnut. It is somewhat earthy and hard to ignore.
E.g. “The light, nutty aroma of this cup of coffee is starting to make me salivate!”
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Resinous coffees fall under the dry distillation category. These tend to smell like terpenes or like some medicines.
With these brews, you can look forward to smelling pine or black-currant aromas, or you may even smell an odor camphoric or Cineolic.
E.g. “I wasn’t sold on this brew because of the resinous aroma, but I found it quite delightful after a few sips.”
Spicy coffee also falls under the dry distillation category. It can be warming like pepper, cedar, or pungent. It can smell like clove or thyme.
This type of coffee is usually enjoyed by people who have a varied palate. You can show off your experience by saying something like this:
E.g. “The spicy aroma of this brew takes me back to the holidays spent with my grandparents at their cabin in the woods.”
Sour acidity in coffee generally means the brew was poor, and it has an unpleasant bitter or pungent taste. It is good to use when you don’t want to simply say that the coffee tastes “bad.”
E.g. “I’m happy you took the time to brew me a cup of coffee, but the acidity is somewhat sour and hard to swallow.”
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Coffee with sparkling acidity dances on the tongue quickly before it disappears. It is light, yet the flavors and textures are well-defined.
E.g. “On the days I stay with her, the sparkling acidity of my sister’s favorite coffee gives me a jolt in the morning.”
6 words to describe coffee body/taste
The body of the coffee refers to the weight or thickness of the coffee on your tongue. The taste, on the other hand, refers to the flavor or the impression that the coffee leaves on your tongue.
You can take a sip and think about it for a second; you can have a look at these words to describe coffee body/taste to see which word best fits the brew that you have:
Bitter is one of the four basic flavors, and it can apply to a number of experiences with coffee. Bitter coffee will taste harsh or pungent.
It may be alkaline or caustic; it can be unpleasant for some people, but it can also be pungent, somewhat creosol, or even phenolic.
E.g. “I’m trying to cut back on sugar, but I don’t think I will ever get used to bitter-tasting coffee.”
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Bland is a good word to use if your coffee is somewhat flavorless; this is perhaps because the beans to water ratio was off, or there was too much milk added to the mix; this can easily drown out the flavor of the coffee bean.
This type of coffee is usually not enjoyable, and if you need a new brew from your waiter, you can say something like this:
E.g. “Excuse me, but this brew is on the bland side. Could I have another cup, perhaps with some sugar too?”
Full is a word that is used to describe the body of your coffee. This means it has a heavier texture than other coffees that you have tried.
This is, of course, is relative, and you will have to try a few different coffees to determine whether it is full-bodied or not. When you have it, you can relay your experience by saying something like this:
E.g. “I think you will like the Midnight Brew more than the Morning Burst. The body of the coffee is full, and it’s much richer.”