The language of coffee must be learned by tasting. - Jim Reynolds, Roast Master
The Four Elements of Coffee Tasting
Aroma is the first hint of how your coffee will taste. In fact, most of your sense of taste actually comes from your sense of smell - which is why coffee can taste so satisfying and sublime.
Acidity, in tasting terms, doesn't mean sour or bitter; it's a lively, tangy, palate-cleansing property, ranging from low to high.
Body is the weight or thickness of the beverage on your tongue. Body ranges from light to full.
Flavour is the all important melding of aroma, acidity, and body that creates an overall impression.
The Four Fundamentals of Coffee
Use the right proportion of coffee to water. This is the most important step in making great coffee. For the most flavourful cup of coffee, we recommend two tablespoons of ground coffee (10 grams) for each 180 milliliters of water. If coffee brewed this way is too strong for your taste, you can add a little hot water to your cup of brewed coffee.
The shorter the brewing process, the finer the grind. Different brewing methods have different grind requirements, so grind your coffee for the brewing method you use. The amount of time the coffee and water spend together affects the flavour elements that end up in your cup of coffee, and the design of your coffee maker dictates how long the coffee and water sit in direct contact during the brewing process.
Water Use fresh, cold water heated to just off the boil. A cup of coffee is 98 percent water. Therefore, the water you use to make coffee should taste clean, fresh, and free of impurities. Water heated to just off a boil (90° to 96° C) is perfect for extracting the coffee's full range of flavours. Any cooler and the water can't adequately do the job. Automatic coffee makers heat the water for you. Make sure the one you use gets the water hot enough.
Use freshly ground coffee. Think of coffee as fresh produce. The enemies of coffee are oxygen, light, heat, and moisture. To keep coffee fresh, store it in an opaque, airtight container at room temperature. For the best results, coffee should be ground just before brewing. Whole bean coffee stays fresh longer because there is less surface area exposed to oxygen. By grinding beans each time you brew, the freshness is preserved.