Coffee Flavor / Aroma Wheel

The purpose of the coffee flavor and aroma wheel is to facilitate communication about coffee aroma and flavor by providing a standard terminology. Words included on the wheel are terms that are specific and analytical and not hedonic or the result of an integrated or judgmental response.

For exmaple, ‘Floral’ is a general but analytical descriptive term, whereas “fragrant”, “elegant” or “harmonious” are either imprecise and vague (fragrant) or hedonic and judgmental (elegant and harmonious).

It is important to note that these terms are NOT the only terms that can be used to describe coffee, but represent ones that are often encountered.

"Novice" coffee drinkers often complain that they “cannot smell anything distinctive” or can’t think of a way to describe the aroma of coffee. Fortunately, it is very easy to train our noses and brains to easily recognize aromas. 

We are currently working on a practical guide to help one recognise and become familiar with all these distinct aromas at your own home and comfort using every day supermarket goods.

To familiarize yourself with the aromas, ideally these should be placed in a wine cup as the structure of the cup intensifies the aromas. 


Practical examples include:

Asparagus (several drops of brine of canned asparagus)

Bell Pepper (tiny piece of bell pepper; don’t leave in too long)

Vanilla (Drop of vanilla extract / Clove)

Citrus (~ 1 teaspoon of fresh orange and grapefruit juice)

Peach (peach or apricot puree or juice)

Pineapple (1 teaspoon juice)

Honey (1 – 2 Tablespoons)  

The following are some examples of very good coffee flavor and aroma wheels: 


coffee aroma wheel

The above stunning aroma wheel is from Counter Culture Coffee. It can be downloaded for free from their website. Enjoy! :-)


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