There are so many things to taste in coffee other than its flavors and aromas. The mouthful of coffee contributes to the entire drinking experience. That is why we think it’s important to consider and explain the mouthfeel of coffee.
Coffee can be clean, it could also have a crisp acidity as well as a creamy, juicy, and smooth taste. Your ability to perceive these differences is essential especially when these tastes are lovely and taste buds are delighted. This is only one of our guides and there is light you need to know about coffee tasting. We suggest that you read our other blog posts here. Read on to find out more on how you can taste coffee mouthfeel.
WHAT MOUTHFEEL IS COFFEE MADE OF?
To fully understand and describe your coffee’s mouthful, you’d first have to know what they are made of. Although black coffee is made up of 98% of water, there are other things inside it and these things are what make up the coffee’s mouthfeel.
When you brew coffee, the hot water extracts compounds and other things from the coffee grounds and ensures that they are dissolved. Most of these things are called solubles- they include acids, caffeine, sugars, fats, protein, some fibers, and carbohydrates. These compounds will dissolve, but they’d still give the water a different taste and flavor than it had before.
There’d also be some undissolved solids in the coffee like some tiny grounds that have broken off from the bigger grounds. These small particles will also release their soluble into the water but the carbohydrates and fibers that are responsible for the structure of the grounds will remain intact.
If they eventually pass into your cup, you will literally feel them on your tongue.
Then you have the coffee’s oils. Take your mind back to your science class, you remember when you were told that water and oils cannot be combined to become a single solution? Yes, that is still a fact. The oils will be separated from the water in the coffee to form layers. You can sometimes feel these layers on your tongue.
You now know what coffee’s mouthfeel is made up of (acidity, flavor’s, and soluble). It is time you learn how to describe them.
HOW TO DESCRIBE YOUR COFFEE’S MOUTHFEEL
Before we continue, you should remember that coffee has a heavier body than other beverages we take. So if as you read you see us use descriptive words like ‘light bodied’ know that it is about coffee, not tea or soda because they are much lighter.
These are some of the most common ways to describe your coffee mouthfeel in the specialty coffee industry.
Light: You’d find light-bodied coffees in the market. These coffees have well-rounded flavors and the taste is fully developed. Because they have a lighter body, it is quite easier to drink it.
Thin: This is quite similar to light coffees but often has a negative connotation. If coffee has a thin mouthfeel, it means it is too light, and it feels like the coffee grounds should have been extracted more.
Medium: Most coffees you’d find in the market fall somewhere between this mouthfeel. The mouthfeel is not too much nor is it too thin. These coffees don’t have an exciting mouthfeel, but that doesn’t make it bad coffee or have fewer flavors.
Full or Heavy: Coffees that are full or have a heavy mouthfeel is very common, These drinks are simply full on your tongue. When you take a sip, you’d feel a lot of substance, and it has a lot of flavors.
Silky or Creamy: Coffee with a creamy mouthfeel can either be heavy or light but most times it will feel heavier. When you taste creamy coffee, it will feel a bit saucy and the milky taste will glide around your tongue.
Astringent taste: This is a feeling of dryness when you take a sip. Under extracted coffee usually has this taste. Also, if the coffee has a high level of acidity, you can feel this at the tip of your tongue. Some coffee drinkers find this taste to be stressful, but you shouldn’t stress it.
Juicy: Juicy coffee has almost become extinct and most coffee lovers like it. When you taste juicy coffee, you’d immediately feel light brightness. This is because there is a high concentration of sugars (just like the ones in juices) and natural oils, and it is usually followed by exciting sweetness
These are the basic terms, and we guess you must have tasted most of them. If you haven’t experienced any of them, then try other coffees. With this knowledge, you’d be able to know the mouthfeel once you taste it.
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HOW BREWING METHODS AFFECT COFFEE’S MOUTHFEEL
The coffee-making procedure you use will have an impact on the coffee’s mouthfeel. Although you won’t be able to turn a juicy coffee into a heavy one, you can alter the taste to your preference with the kind of brewing method you use.
POUR OVER OR IMMERSION STYLE?
Use immersion brewing methods like the Aeropress or French press where you’d have to allow the coffee grounds and hot water to steep for about 3 to 4 minutes before filtering the grounds manually have a role to play in the final cup.
During the period of immersion, the extracted micro grounds will break, so the body will be heavier, full, and creamy. Pour-over coffee with the Chemex, Hario V60 drains the water faster depending on the gravity and how the coffee bed is made. Because the water particles don’t spend much time interacting with water, the mouthfeel will be juicy and thin.
There are no laid down rules to follow but from what you’ve seen pour-over coffee is thinner while French press coffee is creamy and thick. What we are trying to say is that the immersion brewing method will produce coffee with a heavier mouthful than pour-over coffee.
THE KIND OF FILTER YOU USE PLAYS A ROLE
Your coffee filter has a lot to do with how your coffee feels on your tongue. If you are using paper filters, they will absorb most of the coffee oils and hold the micro particles and other undissolved solids. If it is a Chemex filter, the coffee will have a light body because these filters are heavy and thick.
The V60 filters are thin and only allow a few oils to pass through them. This means that the result will be lighter.
Note that acids can easily get through the paper filters but not the micro grounds. So coffee that is made with paper filters will be more acidic and feel brighter.
Cloth filters on the other hand will allow oils to pass through it, and it won’t allow undissolved solids to pass to your final mug. Coffee made with these filters can turn out heavy or light depending on the type of coffee beans you used. Because of the high concentration of the oils with little or no micro grounds, the coffee will feel creamy and smooth.
Metal filters are considered the best by many coffee drinkers. This is because they allow all the coffee natural oil to pass through and allow some micro grounds (this depends on the holes the filter has). The combination of the acids, micro grounds, and other solubles will improve your coffee drinking experience. You’d get coffee with full flavors and the body will be creamy or juicy.
We love coffee made with metal filters that have lots of flavors. The rich flavors these metal filters produce cannot be matched with paper filters. But it is all up to you to experiment with the filters and brewing methods to produce coffee with different mouth feels.
We are glad that you are fully aware of this realm of coffee experience that will make your coffee richer and the process more diversified. You should start enjoying these newfound coffee-making skills.
So, start already, but you’d have to experiment with freshly roasted specialty grade coffee or you’d risk not being able to experiment all you just read. Our coffee beans are roasted on request, and they are sourced from the best farms in the world. You can try our single origin coffees, blends, or decaf coffee.
One of the easiest ways to learn more about coffee is to use rich flavorful beans to brew. This way, you won’t be worried about the coffee tasting stale, you can experiment as much as you like. Besides, specialty coffee is more forgiving, if you make a mistake.
So the next time you have trouble describing your coffee’s mouthfeel, ask yourself this question ‘What does this coffee remind me of? From there you’d be able to describe it.