How to Taste Coffee



I think the Clos St Hune would be right up your alley ( = I think you would love it).

It is light weight but has powerful & intense flavours at the same time :slight_smile:

Trimbach also does great gewurztraminer that can age for 20 years…


Just a recent experience - I had 5 different coffees from Gardelli in past few days. Really excellent Colombia El Vampiro, also really interesting and intense Rwanda Rugali, two Congos and Kenya. All priced somewhat higher but all of them are definitely in that category that I would say go for it because the taste profiles (although quite complex) are really well defined and intense most of the time …

Today the last one so far was that Rwanda … on the tasting notes it has dar chocolate, red berries, hazelnuts and caramel, … but in the espresso I also noticed quite intense sort of fermented taste, in a soy sauce direction (dark brownish redish in colour, in low mids :smiley: ) … cold filter was extremely fruity and delicate … intense. I can say the espresso taste was really good yet really suprising for me … quite a deep one I would call it :slight_smile:


@pavel, the opposite of a billionaire is being broke as a spoke but maybe also a zillionaire :thinking: but I’m in the camp of the former.

I think I should clarify (I think we are all saying this, apologies for the assumption) that while I think I agree that the upper middle part of coffee is the best for value and taste and generally what I like, throwing in something super expensive (ex. 1st dibs auction coffee, or expensive/rare/collection) or super cheap shocks the system in a way. Personally I wouldn’t have appreciated the first time I tried a vintage champagne without a good base to judge it by. But it’s also trying that really nice Champagne that I can also judge the others I’ve tried by, I enjoy all learning and experiencing part of the journey, even sometimes the really really bad stuff. I think the packs from Tim Wendelboe is def something to get as a learning tool, I read on another forum that he bought an auction coffee, in this case a geisha, where they roasted some and gave him the same coffee green, So he could compare and analyze which I thought was mind blowing.

ditto on the agreement, one of my first was also a vin. 1990 Chianti my brother brought back from Italy and by luck survived his storage and several moves, at the restaurant we decided (in 2009) to drink it at an inexperience waiter finished the bottle in my glass with sediment and everything. (I loved the wine from the first sip so I didn’t care. But the Sommelier was horrified and gifted us a bottle to enjoy some some equally old Spanish wine but I don’t remember the grape. And I’ve been hooked ever since. Not my first wine but I knew I liked it the moment I tried it. I regards to missing out I have had one or two experiences like that, the one I reminisce about is the Davidoff 100th anniversary No. 15 robusto a cigar that really can no longer be found without alot of help. But another one will come along, hopefully. The second time is an inexpensive brand (Cupcake) had a wonderful Moscato from Pidmont before Pidmont blew up in the wine world and this $10 Cinderalla wine was whisked away, glass slippers and all.

Oh but dry Rieslings, what deliciousness, I am also in the boat where if it’s good I tend to like it no matter. I will check out your suggestions for sure


Hmmm, that’s a tough call for me, I might not pick Ethiopia, I’ve roasted a Brazil where I have gotten the clear fruit with plenty of juiciness but also chocolate and nuts (not at the same time). Ethiopia is kind of the same but lacks the nuts. I really don’t think I have a preference, or at least I just can’t decide. I think the word you are going for is clear/clarity(?). Also when you say dark do you mean dark flavor or those roast notes (oil/petrol/bracing power of coffee flavor), because I don’t like those either. One aspect of my goal is to get those darker flavors minus the roasted notes, so it is rich full and lingering without the “tar”. Yes, as you said “defined” I think is the word I am going for. My city is a specialty coffee desert the ones who do, don’t do it well. I went into a cafe yesterday, one I thought before was good but now realized that it is not. Sad to say but the coffee shop that holds the best coffee is Starbucks, which is why I don’t bash them so much :man_shrugging:.


Clos St Hune is widely regarded as one of the best if not the best dry Riesling you can get.

Australia and NZ also make some great Riesling.
If you ever see Aussie Riesling made by Jeffrey Grosset just buy it. Particularly his two flagships Polish Hill (steely and austere) and Watervale (lime flowery and richer). Pretty much up there with anything in the world…

Most of the good NZ stuff comes from the top (northern) part of the South Island. Waipara is a really good area where they also make great Pinot Noir. But there are a lot of other good cool climate areas for Riesling like Otago, Nelson, Marlborough, etc.


Starbucks is the best - no wonder you roast your own :wink:


Nodding my head vigorously


That Rwanda sounds like something I would really like.


Dry Riesling …yeah I would really love it I think. :))

Regarding the dark notes - usually when I say dark I mean dark that might also include some roast flavours too, but I would speak of those defects specificaly if I noticed them (petrol, oil, carbon, … ) I usually drink light roasts so I dont get those kind of tastes - so in 99% dark in my head is excluding those roast notes.

Clear/clarity - yes very much of that - I have very strong preference for clarity and good sharp definition of tastes. For me its actually so strong that I would prefere a cup that has some really prominent sharp spikes of taste to the point where it might not be actually easy on me, it could be maybe a bit uncomfortable … over a cup that is round and ballanced, but sort of blury for me … I guess most people might prefere the round and ballanced, but for me its now much more about that clarity which helps me learn faster.


My first roast with the Ikawa Pro. And to my surprise it was quite successful - I really did expect to botch it the first time :slightly_smiling_face:

Coffee is Lavanta PNG Gayo Mountain.

I just posted this in “Home coffee roasters” group on facebook and thought it might be interesting to you guys too…

I actually did three roasts, the first was the default roast loaded on the machine which seems to be a colour test (profile is called “Colour Test Above” - not sure what that means). Took 11m and ended at 204C (exhaust temp sensor). Lightest roast of the three. Did not taste this one (yet - will update if I do).

The second roast was the “IKAWA Pro example profile”. This was bit darker than the first. It roasted in a fairly quick 6m 39s and ended up at 212 degrees C. This was the darkest roast of the the three. The taste of this fresh and clean (lemon?) acid - not developing any (very little) interesting (to me) secondary roast characters yet. But it was a very refreshing cup. Aftertaste seems a little bitter a few minutes later.

The third the “Adam Shaw - SCAA guidelines” profile which took 8m 59s and ended at 207 degrees C. This was slightly lighter than the second roast. Though this was (ever so slightly) lighter than the second roast it had developed some nice secondary flavours - smoother more buttery or milk chocolate (malic?) flavours coming. Even though I generally like (or am used to) a darker roast I really liked this one. Aftertaste from this one a few minutes later was very pleasant.

Picture of beans, roast 1 bottom, 2 middle, 3 top.


FYI Deven according to my cheap (120 eur) moisture tester the green coffee bean moisture content was 5.4% which I suspect is quite wrong!!! Even though I used the “Coffee” setting :slight_smile: However perhaps it will be useful to compare relative readings between different beans.

Hopefully I can figure out a way to calibrate it to give a more accurate reading (I think it allows me to enter an offset for calibration - but to do that I need some way to get an accurate reading first).

I really wanted the SINAR 6070 BEANPRO - but at nearly 2000 euro it is a bit much - perhaps when I get to be a billionaire :slight_smile:

And the ambient temperature today was 25 C, humidity 55%.


Nice post! ok first look into SCAA/SCAE aka SCA protocols for indepth dive but absolutely no need to go that far into it (I say this for everyone concerned, but do you it’s all good), but for your purposes and constancy and a quick layout. You have multiple of the same cups/bowl (ceramic or glass and small) for each cup you grind the same weight and pour in the same amount of water. Per protocol it’s 8.25g per 150mL but I go higher of the same ratio because my cups are 225mL and I just pour in water to the top because I’ve already measured once and this makes it faster. And they say to wait 8-24hrs post roast. *I’m not sure if it changed or not, that’s what it was when I looked it up at least a year ago.

Color Test Profile is probably to determine sugars in the bean or how a consistent profile/heat will effect the beans on hand and are measure via Agtron color measure. The other two are pretty self explanatory.

Your moisture measure (I think) can be used on the green and the roasted coffee. It’s good data to record, after alot of data collection you’ll start seeing correlations between moisture/density/varietal/momentum in the roast profile aka slope variations. I don’t have a moisture reader so I just take the weight loss by measuring the weight of the green vs roasted coffee and write the percent lost. 5.4% water left in roasted bean doesn’t seem wrong to me in that way just high, 2-3% I think is avg and 1% left in the bean is French/Spanish roast, if I remember correctly.

As you can see the roast darken the “quakers”, the light brown ones different from the others, become more apparent, remove them before you grind but weigh them with the roasted bean. Those are beans that for some reason or another do not have enough sugar content and taste bake-y and throw of the taste in the cup/ping.

Sometimes more expensive isn’t always better like we were saying before. If the machine you have is consistent and well made and lasts a long time, those are the only prerequisites for me.

Also particular word of note. The first process you should do in the roasting of your beans is sort the green beans and remove any defective or infected beans. Some thing to watch that tells/shows what to look for and remove.


It was 5.4% in the green bean - should be about 10-12% (from what I read)

Didn’t test the moisture in the roasted beans (yet) - as it needs a bigger sample size than 50g (start weight) of beans. Though obviously I can repeat the roast to get a bigger sample (will probably do that over the next day or two).

Also I didn’t cup - I made espresso. Which is what I always drink so I am better at judging how good it is from espresso. I will try cupping in the future :slight_smile:

This is the grain moisture tester with a coffee setting, very solid aluminium cup, but the control unit it cheap looking (however it comes from a German company who seem to have been around a while…)


Oh ok, yea it should be 10-12%

If you are consistently tasting with espresso then keep doing that. The real purpose of cupping is to make apparent the faults in the roast.

Also I think it’s good to note environment temp and humidity like you did so if you get something great and then something bad 6months later, it’s something that helps.


But if it is consistently 5 or 6% low then it is fine :slight_smile: But as I said I need a comparison to calibrate it against…

Espresso will always be my baseline. But learning to cup will help if I ever want to share with others…


Regarding tasting as espresso - I am doing this for a few years now, and I found out when trying to cup that its easier to detect flavours in espresso for me, then while cupping. Probably due to a lot of practice:) . The problem with it is that small variance in method makes a lot of difference in the cup, so I hope I will learn to cup too…


Ok I did another roast “no 3” roast but I separated the defective beans before roasting, and the quakers after roasting. So what do you think?

It seems to me that you can keep on removing stuff until you only have one bean left - so you got to stop somewhere :wink:


lol nice! you can keep the borderline quakers. Yes there is a point where you can keep removing until nothing. But thinking about it in another way, you keep practicing roasting until there are no defects :smiley: This doesn’t apply to the green beans though, keep pulling out the defects, it may seem like a lot but when I would weigh the percentage difference I was only taking out like <4% so really it’s not that much. I reason out by thinking that if the green distributor is ok with selling the coffee, 1) the harvest/processing wasn’t great but we still need to support the hard work so we can help improve the equipment and conditions at ground zero. 2)this coffee is worth taking the time to process further and strain because if they (the greens distributor) were to do it then the price would skyrocket and the farmers/processors/coops are still working on improving their quality. I like Tom over at Sweet Maria’s because his youtube videos are mostly about the roots off coffee and where it comes from and touches on this.

There will inevitably be some variation in color, especially if the method is Dry Processed, but also has to do alot with fan speed/rotation of the beans :wink: , the resting conditions of the coffee, what the beans were stored and shipped in (grainpro vs burlap vs other (grainpro like bags).

Man if I was a billionaire I would make a video in the style of Mr. Rogers reading James Hoffman’s World Atlas of Coffee. I actually procured a copy for some time from my public library. In that light I might make the video for fun and giggles.


I think I tossed 10% - but I was being fussy :blush:

This might not be the best processed consistent coffee - but it sure tastes good. And who is to say that the inconsistency does add to the interest. It may be that better processing creates a cleaner but less interesting cup…

Next test will be a bit darker…

At present I roast - then I enjoy = most important :slight_smile:


Well you def should not roast infected beans especially ones that have black spots or fungal infections because of health concerns. And as far as adding complexity that is just hopes and dreams my friend, we’ve all hoped for the best but… Roast and make a cup of only defective beans and you’ll see that it doesn’t add anything you want to swallow…just saying