The Specialty Coffee Association of America and World Coffee Research decided to reveal the results of tireless research today, January 19th. It is also my birthday. Coincidence? I think not.
World Coffee Research Sensory Lexicon
The first of two documents, the World Coffee Research Sensory Lexicon, is the attempt of over 70 researchers to categorize and standardize coffee flavor attributes. By comparing coffee flavors to real-life products that the common man has access to, these researchers have developed a system of determining coffee flavor usable by seasoned professionals and novices alike to achieve a common language for describing coffee.
Skeptics, calm down. The bright people behind this immense, three year long project understand that “the project is, by nature, an evolving document”. As the research develops, entrees to the lexicon may be adapted and others may be added. I highly suggest checking out the Sensory Lexicon yourself so you can see how it works.
The New Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel
In light of this development in sensory analysis, the SCAA decided it was time to update the Coffee Flavor Wheel, a document that had been untouched for nearly twenty years. This update to the wheel brings the Sensory Lexicon’s possible flavors for coffee to a simple, user-friendly graphic designed to empower drinkers of all stages to begin the journey of tasting coffee well.
These developments will have significant impact down the road for the global coffee industry as it learns to communicate flavor and quality in new, accessible ways.