Australian Researchers Develop a ‘Coffee Character Wheel’

Australian Researchers Develop a ‘Coffee Character Wheel’

Posted by Nate Lee on

[Link to get Coffee Character Wheel]

 

New Australian government-funded research has developed the "Coffee Character Wheel," a tool designed to identify coffee with the concept of terroir. This concept is similar to the Specialty Coffee Association's "Coffee Taster's Flavor Wheel", which is used as a sensory analysis tool and as a decorative poster in roasteries and cupping rooms worldwide. The Coffee Character Wheel provides terminology for the coffee qualities of acidity, mouthfeel, and aftertaste, as opposed to flavour.

The research paper, published in the Journal of Sensory Studies, explores the creation of the Coffee Character Wheel. The process involved an extensive literature review that identified 695 unique sensory terms related to acidity, mouthfeel, and aftertaste, which were then pared down to a final list of 95 terms.

The academic output is part of a larger project funded by the Australian agricultural development funding agency AgriFutures. The project aims to "define the terroir of Australian coffee to increase demand and investment" in Australian-grown coffees.

The study's authors, from Australia's Southern Cross University, recently wrote that "terroir, a word often associated with wine, can be thought of as the 'taste of place' of a product being consumed." Although the academic study never once uses the term terroir outside of a funding disclosure at the bottom, both AgriFutures and the study's authors have expressly described the Coffee Character Wheel as a tool to more closely associate coffee characteristics with terroir.

The combined materials also rely on the underlying premise that coffee post-harvest processing is indeed an aspect of terroir. According to the study's authors, there are approximately 50 coffee producers spread across two primary coffee-growing areas in Australia. However, Australian-grown coffee represents less than 1% of domestic roasting and consumption.

When leading cuppings of 150 coffee samples, the research produced results that the study's benefactors are sure to find promising. "Our results found Australian-grown coffee is sweeter, nuttier, and fruitier in flavour than others," two of the study authors wrote in The Conversation. "This pleasant terroir is probably due to the cooler temperatures and longer ripening periods in our coffee-producing areas."

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