Friday, January 14, 2011

SCAA Flavor Wheel

Describing coffee flavor is hard.  Impossible even.  Is it earthy or spicy? Piquant or nippy?  Acidic or bitter?  Aromas can be equally puzzling.  Was that pine I smelled?  Oh no, that is definitely floral.  Errr...oak-like?  Many foodies know conveying flavor is fraught with generalizations and the impossible barrier of communicating something so delicate and nuanced as taste in words. 

The SCAA (Specialty Coffee Association of America) created the solution to our descriptive problems.  Behold the "Coffee Wheel"!  Now, we can utilize grandiloquent words like camphoric, enzymatic, and phenolic, along with easier descriptors such as citrus, nut-like, turpeny, and carmelly.

How to use:
1.  To describe Taste, use the left side. Aroma, right side.
2.  Work outwards from the center to the periphery.

Now, my coffee reviews shall be quite exact with the perfect adjective to describe what I am tasting.  Check back this weekend, as SCAA has a second wheel to describe the roasting process.
Citation: Picture grabbed from Sweet Maria's CoffeeClick here for larger picture.

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