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  Tasting Tool: The Coffee Flavor Wheel  
   
  January 5, 2011  
  How often have you enjoyed a great cup of coffee but struggled to describe the qualities in it that impressed you? Well, you're not alone.

In the coffee industry, the ability to note and convey the distinct properties of a coffee is essential. From purchasing the finest green coffees to roasting and marketing them, descriptive words matter. So, the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) developed the tool on the left to...

 
   
   
   
   
   
     
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    Evaluating a Coffee's Essential Flavor Traits    
Evaluating a Coffee's Essential Flavor Traits      
  September 12, 2010      
  Experts are likely to agree on the overall quality of a particular coffee based on an evaluation known as "cupping"—a blind taste test conducted by a team of reviewers to rate a coffee—but they rarely score a coffee's key flavor traits identically. This is because each professional approaches the cupping process with different coffee palates. The same holds true for all coffee drinkers. Each of us defines a great cup of coffee based on widely disparate taste preferences and experiences.      
       
       
       
       
       
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    The Effect of Roast Style on Coffee Flavor      
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  August 25, 2010          
  Coffee has never been without its share of enthusiasts willing to improvise with whatever tools were on hand for a fresh cup of joe. Frontiersmen, for example, roasted green coffee in tin pans over an open fire and ground the beans with their rifle butts. Thankfully, the science of coffee roasting has changed for most of us, but the importance of the roasting process has not. Aside from the quality of the green bean itself, no other factor contributes more to the flavor of coffee than the roast style applied to it.      
       
       
       
       
       
     
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            Coffee Varietals      
        arabica coffee tree        
          June 24, 2010      
         

When one considers the factors that influence the flavor of a specific green coffeefrom its growing region and microclimate to its elevation and processing methodno examination is complete without appreciating the contribution of the coffee tree (varietal) that produced it. A "varietal" refers to a single botanical variety of coffee tree, such as var. bourbon. Every varietal imparts distinct flavor attributes to its coffee cherries which are then absorbed by the seedsor coffee beans.

     
               
               
               
               
               
             
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        harvested coffee cherries   The Effect of Processing on Coffee Flavor      
          December 31, 2009      
          Do you prefer the flavor of a dry-processed coffee or one that has been wet-processed? If you have no clue as to the difference, you’re not alone. Yet if single-origin coffee happens to be your favorite cup of joe, knowing how a processing method affects a coffee’s flavor profile becomes one more factor to consider in your pursuit of the perfect cup.       
               
               
               
               
               
             
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        coffee growing elevation   The Effect of Altitude on Coffee Flavor      
         
December 2, 2009
     
          The influence of geography on the flavor of a coffee bean is profound. All coffee grows in the tropics, but the altitude at which it is grown contributes significantly to a coffee’s taste profile. Mountainous regions of the Coffee Belt, a tropical band extending approximately 30º north and south of the equator, produce the world’s truly great arabica coffees. Central and South America, southern Asia and...       
               
             
               
               
               
               
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