How to Taste Coffee

3 minute read

The art of coffee tasting

The Art of Tasting

Coffee tasting is the practice of identifying unique tastes and aromas in the coffee you drink. L'OR espresso blends are created to engage all the senses and draw you in with layers of flavor and aroma, which is why we encourage everyone to explore our flavor universe.

The coffee origin, the darkness of the roast, the way it is brewed, and what is added to it all influence the tasting experience. Each of our blends has its own distinct profile with nuanced tastes, so we provide a guide with tasting notes for each one, to enhance your coffee experience.

“IF A LABEL OF A COFFEE SAYS CHOCOLATY, SMELL A PIECE OF CHOCOLATE AND SEE IF YOU CAN FIND THESE TASTE NOTES IN THE COFFEE.”

—Roland Brouwer,
L'OR Coffee Artist

Storage & Preparation

The rich flavors and aromas in L'OR coffee are best preserved by storing your coffee in an airtight container, in a cool dry place. This applies for both coffee beans, ground coffee, and instant coffee.

Our coffee capsules are packed in aluminum as this allows us to lock in the freshness of ground coffee, and to preserve it for longer, resulting in an exquisitely fresh-tasting cup of coffee, every time.

The simplest way to prepare ground coffee or freshly ground beans is in a cafetiere. This allows the aromas of the coffee to be released quickly, for an aromatic cup of coffee. It allows you to prepare larger quantities of coffee for endless coffee bliss, too.

Did You Know?

The sense of smell is one of the most important senses for becoming a coffee expert. In fact, 80% of the aromas are detected by your nose. Nearly 2,000 components participate in creating the aroma of your coffee. That's why the smell of coffee has never been reproduced.

 

Before we learn how to pick up the different aromas in our L’OR coffee, it's important to understand the different kinds of coffee scents and tips for tasting. Let's explore.

Coffee Artist

Coffee Scent Categories

Enzymatic

Since the coffee bean is a seed of a fruit, similar to a cherry, many coffees contain a floral or more fruit-like aroma. These aromas are described as enzymatic properties and they vary widely, from berry-like to citrusy to oniony and melony.

Sugar Brewing

When the amino acids and sugars are exposed to heat during roasting, they can remind you of roasted nuts or even cocoa. Depending on the coffee bean, there will be different levels of sugars which will influence these notes in the final cup of coffee.

Dry Distillation

During coffee roasting, some parts of the coffee bean are 'burnt' in the roaster. This brings with it unique and distinctive aromas, similar to wood or perhaps pipe tobacco. The darker the roast, the more pronounced the dry distillation tastes become.

Tips for Coffee Tasting

Tips for Coffee Tasting

Every coffee experience is unique, and the way you prepare your coffee is a reflection of your personality. From a rich espresso to a milky cappuccino. Sweetened or unsweetened. Dairy or oat milk. It's up to you.

If you do prefer your coffee on the sweeter side, we recommend pairing L'OR coffee with white sugar, rather than brown sugar. Brown sugar has a more caramelized taste which can influence the profile of the coffee and may not reveal its best characteristics.

Our Coffee Artists also recommend using stoneware, earthenware, or porcelain cups rather than glass or metal, as this allows for better development of the aromas.

One way to enhance your L'OR experience is to preheat your cups before adding the coffee.

Avoid eating spicy food. Spicy food can alter the taste of your coffee, and coffee can make the kick from the spicy food more intense.

Avoid certain flavors such as aniseed, mint, and licorice. These can also mask the taste.

Ways to Taste Coffee

Ways to Taste

Olfactory Tasting

The most subtle aromas are the most volatile. To fully taste your coffee, proceed with olfactory tasting a maximum of 10 to 15 minutes after it has been made. To detect the aromas of a coffee, you’ll want to briefly inhale 2 or 3 times above your cup. You can repeat this process but be careful to not saturate your sense of smell.

"THERE ARE OVER 800 AROMAS IN THE WORLD OF COFFEE AND WE CAN APPRECIATE IT BY BUILDING A SOPHISTICATED TASTE MEMORY.”

—Judith de Boer,
L'OR Coffee Artist

 

The experts taste the coffee without sugar or milk because these reduce the intensity of certain aromas such as bitterness.

Mouth Tasting

By tasting your coffee, you can detect familiar notes, such as acidity, bitterness, or even smoothness. Certain coffees also reveal spicy or floral notes as well as notes of red or dried fruits. On tasting, a good coffee is usually one which is full-bodied, balanced, velvety, and intense rather than having a burnt taste, or an aggressive, bitter, or gritty taste.

Our Coffee Artists taste each L'OR blend without milk or sugar, so they can get the full taste experience and detect the nuance of the profile. Milk and sugar can reduce the intensity of certain aromas, like bitterness.

Coffee Tasting Steps

Coffee Tasting Steps

  • Before tasting, stir your coffee so it's evenly distributed throughout. Coffee that is too hot or too bitter can mask certain nuances so let it cool for a moment before tasting it.
  • Take small sips, so you don't over-saturate your palette. Swill the coffee around your mouth for 5 to 10 seconds before swallowing it so every part of your tongue and your palate can detect the intensity of the different aromas.
  • Continue to taste the coffee as it cools, because you will discover aromas that could have been initially masked by the heat. But don't wait longer than 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Bonus: If you want to test out your skills in detecting flavor nuances, try lining up a few cups of coffee, with different espresso blends. We recommend the following L’OR espresso blends to compare against each other in terms of aroma, flavor, and intensity.

Colombia

Intensity: 8

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Profondo Lungo

Intensity: 8

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Estremo Lungo

Intensity: 10

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Onyx

Intensity: 12

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Interested in learning more? Read about our production process.

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