I was recently thinking about what attributes are common among the coffees I enjoy the most. I have written about this subject before although the last time I covered it was last November. Since then, I have tried many more coffees. Not only have I tried more coffees, I have tried more unique coffees. I have sought out more distinct coffees—from those with unusual flavour notes to those from origins I have not yet tried—because I enjoy trying something new. In doing so, I have found some flavour attributes that I really like in coffee.
There are times when I just want a chocolatey cup of coffee. While "chocolate" may not be the most exciting tasting note when you consider what is possible in coffee, chocolatey coffees are comforting to me. What matters when drinking coffee is personal pleasure, irrespective of varietal or processing method or whatever. I get a lot of pleasure out of a nice chocolatey coffee.
That's not all I like. I tend to err on the side of fruity coffees when I buy a new bag of coffee beans. My go-to region if I want a fruity coffee is Ethiopia as I also enjoy the floral notes I get from many coffees in Ethiopia. I can't identify a lot of floral notes but I still enjoy floral coffees. One of the coffees that blew me away the most last year was an Ethiopian. The floral notes changed my view on what was possible in coffee. Anyway, back to fruity tasting notes. I usually don't look at origin so much as I do at tasting notes. If a coffee has tasting notes that appeal to me, I'll probably buy that one versus one from a new region that I haven't tried.
Importantly, I do not find grand tasting notes appealing. Tasting notes that are articulated clearly and simply on a package, and with which I can resonate, are more likely to get my attention than something that sounds either overly pretentious or something I know I'll never be able to identify. While specific tasting notes are a good way to showcase what one might get from a coffee, there comes a point where the tasting notes look more like marketing than a true representation of the coffee. I'd take a "blueberry" or "chocolate" tasting note over something that is quite obscure or embellished. I will not name any examples but I have seen many. In my opinion, tasting notes should be about helping people find a coffee they like rather than a marketing item. That's just my opinion though.
One more thing: I prefer natural coffees. "What? A natural coffee? What about washed coffees?" Well, I like washed coffees. I have had some delicious washed coffees. But I tend to prefer the funkiness of natural coffees. I find pineapple, passion fruit, and other similar "funky" flavours enjoyable. I don't usually think too much about processing if a coffee has tasting notes that appeal to me (I can't name how two of the four coffees in my cupboard are processed for that reason) but it is something I consider when buying a coffee. I have had some excellent natural coffees and I'm keen to try many more.
These are all my opinions. Your experiences with coffee will likely differ from mine. There is a whole world of tasting notes out there. I think it's great that there are so many tastes to explore in coffee. I like trying new coffees and flavours and I know that I have only scratched the surface of what is out there. I haven't tried many coffees processed using experimental methods. There are many regions from which I have not had a coffee yet. The only way to learn more about what I like—and what I don't like—is to keep drinking coffee.
I am keen to hear what other people enjoy in coffees. Do you prefer naturals too? Do you like to seek out experimental processes? Do you like chocolatey coffees? Let me know by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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