The Language of Coffee
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The Language of Coffee

The challenge is to make espresso taste exactly the way ground coffee smells by extracting the maximum flavour from the bean while leaving behind bitter compounds and caffeine. Nothing is as bad as bad espresso. It is an intense unpleasantness that is difficult to remove from your palate. On the other hand, if it is made correctly the perfect espresso is delicious and exotic. Here are some key words that may help you communicate with other espresso enthusiasts.

Fragrance

The fragrance released when hot water hits the ground coffee. The first judge of the flavours released from the bean comes from the aroma and will tell you a great deal about the coffee’s freshness and personality.

Words used to describe the aroma include “delicate”, “moderate”, “strong”, “rich”, “fragrant” or “complex”.

Aroma

The fragrance released when hot water hits the ground coffee. The first judge of the flavours released from the bean comes from the aroma and will tell you a great deal about the coffee’s freshness and personality.

Words used to describe the aroma include “delicate”, “moderate”, “strong”, “rich”, “fragrant” or “complex”.

Body

The “body” of a coffee describes the weight and texture of the coffee in the mouth and on the tongue. It can range from heavy and full to light and thin.

A full-bodied coffee has a rich texture and heaviness on the tongue, with a taste that lingers. Coffee lacking body is thin and watery.

Crema

Espresso coffee should have a golden coloured layer of foam called “crema”. Crema looks a little like honey coloured beaten egg white, but is in fact a product of the oil in the beans.

The most delicate of the aromatic flavours are captured in the crema for just a moment, savoured at once and then remembered in the sweet lingering aftertaste.

An espresso without crema has not been properly made.

Acidity

The word “acidity” is often used to describe coffee. The acidity of a coffee refers to the pleasingly crisp, sharp taste of it.

Acidity is more of a sensation than a taste and is experienced on the roof of the mouth and the tip of the tongue. Coffee without acidity tends to taste flat, lacking a pleasant palate cleansing aspect.

Roasting eliminates some of the coffee beans’ acidity, so a light roasted coffee will contain the highest amount of acidity and is said to have a lot of “bite”.

Flavour

This refers to the total impression of the aroma, acidity and body. A coffee that has a well-balanced flavour has the qualities of acidity, body and flavour that all must play in harmony so that no one element predominates at the expense of another.

The tasting terminology used to describe coffee characteristics is very similar to that of fine wine.

 
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