What are the characteristics of good coffee?

Posted by Chanho Hong on

What are the characteristics of good coffee?


There are some words are commonly used in the coffee industry to describe the quality of the coffee. When we first time involved in the industry, we start by using very general words such as fruity, bitter, acidic, et cetera. And then, as getting more experiences, vocabulary is increased, then, using detailed words such as stonefruits, chocolates, citrus. Then, once getting enough experience and own standard in the tasting, various words are in use.

Cafe Import(n.d.) described expressions and characteristics of coffee quality.

WASHED

  • 100pts: EXCEPTIONAL: Super Premium Specialty, Perfect delivery of positive cup character

  • 90-99pts: OUTSTANDING: Premium Specialty, Near perfect delivery of positive cup character, positive attributes exemplary of origin and type; rich and unique coffee flavours, very complex acidity, very smooth mouth-feel, very sweet, very long and clean finish.

  • 85-89pts: VERY GOOD-EXCELLENT: Specialty Grade, Unique positive attributes, particular of origin and type; rich coffee flavours, complex acidity, smooth mouth-feel, sweet, and very clean finish.

  • 80-84pts: VERY GOOD: Specialty Grade, Attributes typical of origin and type; generic positive coffee flavours, simple acidity, good mouth feel, definite sweetness, and clean finish; may exhibit some slight processing defects, taints or faults.

NATURAL

  • 100pts: EXCEPTIONAL: Super Premium Specialty, Perfect delivery of positive cup character.

  • 90-99pts: OUTSTANDING: Premium Specialty, Near perfect delivery of positive cup character, attributes exemplary of origin and type; origin coffee flavors enhanced by pulp flavor, integrated complex fruit and aromatic acidity, outstanding mouth-feel, moderately to very sweet, long and clean finish.

  • 85-89pts: VERY GOOD-EXCELLENT: Specialty Grade, Attributes particular of origin and type; moderate pulp flavour integrated with other positive coffee flavors, definite fruit acidity, smooth mouth-feel, moderately sweet, clean finish, and consistency across cups; allowing for some apparent aromatic acidity, minimal quaker character, little to no astringency.

  • 80-84pts: VERY GOOD: Specialty Grade, Attributes typical of origin and type; predominant pulp flavour, some fruit acidity, slightly rough mouth-feel, some perceptible sweetness, slightly muddled finish; may exhibit slight processing defects, flavour taints and faults, allowing for moderate aromatic acidity


It depends on origin, microclimate, variety, processing, etc., however, as the quality goes up, flavours are becoming more complex, tropical, obvious, and distinctive. As you can see from the description above, the characteristics of coffee are different by its score(quality). Thus, identifying the flavour characteristics helps us understand the quality of the coffee.


Usually, coffees for blends are in the range of 80-84 points, single origin espressos are a bit above, and coffees for the filter are in a bit higher quality range.

As we are using the same single origin coffee for espressos and filters together, the quality of the single origin coffee we use should be at least over 86 points hence our customer can experience the distinctive flavour from our coffee. 

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