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Flavor Notes: Brewing Basics

Photo courtesy of SCA

One of the FAQs we get when people hear “flavor notes” of a coffee such as our new Panama Abu Anaerobic Natural Geisha, with flavor notes of cherry + jolly rancher + pink lemonade, is, “Are your coffees flavored?” It’s a common and understandable misconception, especially for anyone journeying from drive-through, commercial coffee to local, specialty coffee shops.

The short answer to this is no, we never add any flavoring to Klatch Coffees. The long answer brings us further along the journey, to coffee cupping and the growing process of the beans.

Flavor Notes Are Inherent to the Bean

Flavor notes are inherent to the coffee bean, or if you want to get more precise, the coffee cherry. In the same way that you might go to a wine tasting and note the geographic and harvest distinctives, coffees are often known by their origin, altitude, processing method, varietal, and roast level. (See the links to our blogs for more information for how each of these factors comes into play.)

Learning About Flavor Notes Helps You Know Which Klatch Coffee To Buy

Think about your favorite coffee. Imagine it, fresh and steaming in front of you, the aroma wafting through the air. What do you smell? How does it taste? What do you enjoy the most about it? Is it fruity? Nutty? Are you tasting chocolate or berry notes? Once you start to recognize flavors, you’re building your coffee tasting palate!

Our very own Krystal talks about her coffee journey here and recommends starting with blends to start to build your coffee tasting palate. One of the best ways to track your coffee journey is by keeping a log every time you try a new coffee, either at Klatch or when buying beans. You can download the coffee log and track things like grind setting, country, varietal, and processing method here.

Coffee Cupping 101

As you continue on your coffee journey of distinguishing flavor or tasting notes, it’s helpful to hear from roasters like our roastmaster Mike Perry and our quality control team. Mike tastes hundreds of coffee from around the world each month to find the very best. You can find our Cupping and Conversation videos on our Youtube Channel, Klatch Coffee.

If you’re looking for written instructions on coffee cupping, check out our Best Method for Cupping Coffee At Home blog. If you’re further along your coffee journey and are hoping to roast at home, check out Mike Perry’s Green Roasting Tips and Ask Mike: Green Beans.

The Flavor Wheel

One of the most iconic resources—as well as the coffee industry’s standard—for determining and recognizing flavor notes is (Specialty Coffee Association) SCA’s Flavor Wheel. We use both this and Counter Culture’s flavor wheel in all of our cuppings.

Coffee is Never Finished

The challenge and fun of specialty coffee is that coffee is both an art and a science, a field with endless factors and challenges and possibilities: Coffee is never finished. Wherever you are on your coffee journey, there’s always more to learn and enjoy about your favorite cup of coffee.

Do you already know what flavor notes you enjoy and want to find your new favorite bag of Klatch Coffee? Take our Find Your Beans quiz.

Trying a new brewing method? Check out our Brew Guides.

Want great coffee, on repeat? Subscribe to our Single Origin, Blend, or Espresso Club Subscription today!


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