Time to wrap up another thread and say goodbye to the ‘unique versus the universal in coffee‘. For several weeks, we have worked through how there are certain approaches to roasting and brewing that will eliminate or highlight the qualities of origin. And what better way to end than with a visual summary:


I have attempted to design this for quick reference and hope it helps illuminate a path to weave in order to find those unique traits in coffee. Finding such a line requires avoiding multiple pitfalls that generate those universal notes, like bitterness or astringency. An interesting element that stuck out while making this chart was how the center is vague and it gets progressively more specific moving outwards. Fruit, for example, could be grapes or melon or stone-fruit or tropical-fruit, yet burnt is … well, burnt! Moreover, you see overlap at the edges in elements like astringency or bitterness.

Indulge me and sit down with a cup. Ask yourself what kinds of tastes and flavours you get from both aroma and sipping? Then ponder the feel and finish. From there you should be able to go through the extraction line and figure out if you are in the ‘well-extracted’ zone. If you are but then hit something like tea or cocoa, grassy or spice, then you can attribute it to the roast. If you get past that line, the ultimate reward is discovering a great coffee, as you fill-in those question marks and create your own set of notes.