If you’re a coffee enthusiast or professional, you’ve likely heard of the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) and their Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel. The Flavor Wheel is an essential tool for coffee professionals and enthusiasts, as it provides a standardized vocabulary for describing the various flavors and aromas of coffee. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the SCA Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel and its importance in the coffee industry.
The SCA Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel was developed by the SCA in collaboration with coffee experts and sensory scientists. The wheel is designed to provide a common language for coffee professionals and enthusiasts to use when evaluating and describing the taste and aroma of coffee. It consists of 12 main categories, each of which is further broken down into more specific subcategories.
The 12 main categories of the Flavour Wheel are: Sweet, Floral, Fruity, Sour, Fermented, Spicy, Nutty, Chocolatey, Caramelised, Vegetative, Roasted, and Woody. Each category is represented by a colour and a number, making it easy to identify and communicate specific flavour and aroma characteristics of coffee.
For example, the Sweet category is represented by the color yellow and the number 1. Under this category, there are subcategories such as Brown Sugar, Caramel, and Honey. The Floral category is represented by the color blue and the number 2, and includes subcategories such as Lavender, Jasmine, and Rose.
The SCA Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel is not only a tool for describing coffee flavors and aromas, but also for evaluating and grading coffee. Coffee professionals use the Flavor Wheel as a reference when scoring coffee samples in competitions, and when evaluating the quality of coffee for purchasing and roasting.
In addition to its use in the coffee industry, the Flavor Wheel is also a useful tool for coffee enthusiasts who want to improve their sensory evaluation skills. By familiarizing themselves with the Flavor Wheel, coffee lovers can learn to identify and appreciate the various flavor and aroma characteristics of different coffee varieties and roasts.
To use the SCA Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel, start by smelling the coffee and identifying the primary aroma category. Then, continue to taste the coffee and evaluate the flavor characteristics. Use the Flavor Wheel as a guide to identify the specific subcategories of flavor and aroma that you are tasting.
One of the benefits of using the Flavor Wheel is that it can help you to develop a more nuanced and sophisticated palate for coffee. By becoming familiar with the various flavor and aroma characteristics of coffee, you can learn to appreciate the subtle differences between different varieties and roasts.
The SCA Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel is an essential tool for coffee professionals and enthusiasts alike. It provides a standardised vocabulary for describing the flavours and aromas of coffee, and can be used for evaluating and grading coffee samples. By familiarising yourself with the Flavor Wheel, you can develop a more sophisticated palate for coffee and learn to appreciate the unique characteristics of different coffee varieties and roasts.
Want to buy a beautiful SCA Flavour Wheel poster? You can grab one directly from the Specialty Coffee Association’s online store.
You can also find an awesome interactive version of the SCA Flavour Wheel at notbadcoffee.com.