Flavour Wheel

Flavour Wheel

Nikki Milligan

What’s in Your Cup?

Most of the time, our love of coffee’s purpose is simply to  raise our blood-caffeine level, something to get us going in the morning. But let’s take a moment to really discover the flavours in our coffee. 

Like wine, every good cup of coffee has unique flavor characteristics. So let’s use our most precious sensory receptors, taste and smell to discover what we can. We can use them to sense the subtleties that define how they were processed and how they were roasted, and even the environment where the beans were grown.

You don’t need to be a professional “coffee cupper” to do this, you just have to taste your coffee mindfully.

The Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel is a great tool to describe coffee flavor and help guide you in the experience to savour your cup of coffee.  It was originally developed in 1995, and updated again in 2016 by the SCA in collaboration with World Coffee Research. We can use it to discover subtle complexities in both aroma and taste.

Many roasters actively use this wheel  as they cup new roasts to help guide them.

How can you use it?

Begin from the center by identifying broader flavour notes, and work your way out to more specific flavours. Try to identify some of the more subtle tastes aromas, as you  home in on what you're tasting. 

The SCA has a great step-by-step guide on how to use it as well.

The labels in our Coffee Locale subscription provide you with tasting notes. And we encourage you to pour yourself one of the specialty roasts we provide. Then set this wheel up in front of you and see what flavours you can find! Enjoy the experience. 

There are no wrong answers. Each of our palates is unique and has experienced different flavours in our past so, you may even find yourself experiencing flavour notes beyond what is listed on the label. 

Become the coffee artisan of your morning, and have some fun with it!