What affects coffee’s taste?
The taste of our coffee isn't determined solely by how much or little we use to brew. In fact, there are many variables that contribute to how our coffee tastes before we start to brew, including:
Origins & Growing Conditions
The main differences in coffee's flavour is specific to the region they’re from. Broadly, the 3 main coffee growing regions are Africa, America and Asia.
Coffee processing is the act of converting the coffee plant's raw fruit into the finished coffee bean. There are many different ways to process coffee and the list gets longer and longer with each day as more coffee farmers begin to experiment with non-traditional process methods!
One of the most common processes is Washed, in which the coffee undergoes an intentional fermentation phase using water, which often results in flavor profiles such as clean, well-balanced, complex, pronounced acidity, silky, delicate, tea-like body, featuring a wide range of taste notes from starfruit tartness to deep, dark chocolate.
Another common processing method is Natural, in which the fruit remains on the bean and dries undisturbed. Common flavor profiles include bold, fruity flavors inherited from the coffee cherry, pulp and skin, generally producing a heavier-bodied cup. Usually tastes 'not like coffee' as some might say - expect funk in your cup but in an excellent way!
The varietal is essentially the species of the coffee plant which produced your coffee bean. You may have already heard of the Arabica & Robusta varietals, but other common varietals in speciality coffee include:
SL28: Typically found in Kenya, this varietal often has taste notes of red grape, lemon, berries & blackcurrant.
Heirloom: Usually from Ethiopia, heirloom coffees often have taste notes of black tea, florals, jasmine, lemon and lime.
Geisha: One of the most rare coffee varietals around, geisha coffees can often taste like rosehips, honeysuckle, tangerine, bergamot and lemongrass. Usually found in Panama & Colombia.
The way your coffee is roasted also greatly impacts how your coffee tastes. For example, coffee with a Filter roast will be lighter, cleaner and brighter than most Espresso roast coffees, which tend to be darker and more bitter.
Each of these variables impact the taste of the coffee we brew. We explore them in more detail on our coffee education platform Brew Online!