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Coffee is much like art but instead of it being in the eye of the beholder its dependent upon the taste buds of the person taking the sips. Flavors such as blueberry, chocolate and strawberry are not as uncommon as you might think. But what is it exactly that gives coffee its unique flavors? The roasting process of course!

Choosing Your Roast

Coffee is one of the most intricate beverages you can drink. There are over 1,000 chemical compounds responsible for aroma and flavor. Coffees are roasted in a particular way to bring out these unique flavors.

But which roast will you like better light or dark? This greatly depends on which type of body you prefer your coffee to have. Light roasts have a thinner body and darker roasts have a thicker body. This is caused by the amount of moisture left in the bean. The longer a bean is roasted the less moisture the bean contains.

Because of the roasting process, beans will have a specific taste. Lighter roasts have more caffeine and brighter flavors whereas darker roasts have more nut-like or even caramel notes. It’s important to mention that beans can also be over roasted. You can spot this in the texture of the bean. The bean will be very oily due to too much moisture being removed from the bean while roasting. 

If you’re curious about specific coffee flavors, you can practice tasting these specific notes using the flavor wheel listed below. It’s simple! Start from the center for more basic tastes and work your way to the outer edges of the wheel for more specific tastes. It’s a fun way to test your palate while drinking your favorite beverage. 

Getting to Know Your Palate

Whether you enjoy dark or light roast, also has to do with your distinctive palate. The way we perceive taste is divided into 5 categories sweetness, saltiness, acidity, umami and bitterness. Each of these tastes are detected by a different area of the tongue, so it’s important to only focus on one taste at a time for beginners. 

Ground or Whole Beans

When choosing whether to grind your beans all at one time or purchase your beans whole and grind them as you need them, the essence of convenience comes into play. Choose to grind them all at one time and you don’t have to worry about it when you’re making your morning coffee, however some of the flavors may not be as fresh as when you leave the beans whole and grind them as you need them. So it’s all up to your preference. Just remember that roasted beans reach their peak after a certain period of time. In most situations, coffee beans are most flavorful 2-10 days after they have been roasted but they will stay fairly fresh for up to 30 days. 

Want to Test Your Taste Buds?

Don’t forget to check out Hill Tree Roastery’s new Roaster’s Passport. With this exclusive deal, you can have organic single origin coffee from around the world shipped straight to your door weekly, biweekly, monthly or bimonthly. Drink up coffee lovers!

Tessa Meriwether - Staff Writer

Tessa is a coffee aficionado, multimedia journalist, and graduate of the University of Texas in Austin currently working as a freelance journalist in Lubbock, TX.  To learn more, click here:


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