Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

Become a Coffee Expert

Coffee tasting techniques

Coffee tasting is simply a process of comparing and contrasting different coffees. If you taste two or three coffees you can develop your personal preference as well as distinguish differences in aroma, acidity, and flavour. We recommend you start with the lighter bodied coffees first and work up to fuller bodied coffees. Let's get started and become a coffee expert!

What do I need?  

What do I need?  

Fresh filtered water:

The quality of water you use – in terms of the amount of mineral salts and chlorine it contains – can greatly affect the taste of coffee. For best results, try using purified water when making your next cup of coffee. If using tap water, let the tap run for a while before filling the kettle, particularly in the morning. This clears out water which has stood overnight in the pipes. Bring the water to the boil, but don’t boil it for too long, as this removes oxygen and makes a flatter cup of coffee.


Measure the amount of coffee exactly (use as much coffee as indicated on the packaging).

Several coffee mugs or bowls:

To serve your coffee

Cupping Spoons:

Use deep-bowled spoons, better for sipping and cooling samples


To note your impressions

Coffee powder:

Choose your favorite NESCAFÉ products

What to do?  

What to do?   First of all look at your coffee...or in other words, describe the appearance and the colour intensity of the powder from light to dark before pouring the hot water over it. While pouring the water over your coffee, keep watching the solubility. Your coffee should dissolve easily.

Then use your nose to smell the overall aroma. The aroma is the first hint of how your coffee will taste. Use your spoon to gently ‘release the aroma from the surface, allowing the aroma to escape. Glide the spoon back and forth, and inhale deeply. Smell each coffee sample and note down your impressions.

And last but not least, taste it: Sip the coffee from the spoon with a deep pull. Let the coffee cover your entire mouth, allowing your taste buds to experience and recognize each flavour and specific note. Keep the coffee in your mouth without swallowing and swish it about. What does the coffee feel like? There are several components to describe the taste of your coffee:

  • Overall Intensity... is the total intensity of flavours perceived together in the cup. The rating goes from very strong (meaning a very intense coffee) to very light.
  • Coffee strength... What do you think of the coffee strength of this drink? The rating goes from very strong (meaning a very strong coffee taste) to very light.
  • Mouthfeel… How does this drink feel in your mouth?
  • Acidity... is the basic taste of acidity. It is a sharp and pleasing taste, as opposed to sour. It is perceived as a 'tingling' sensation on each side of the tongue.
  • Bitterness... Bitterness is a natural part of the coffee's taste, partly due to the caffeine content. Therefore good quality coffee will commonly have some bitter elements, but they should live in harmony with other aspects. Bitterness refers to the basic taste sensation perceived primarily at the back of the tongue; it might remind you of the taste of a grapefruit.
  • Body... describes the apparent viscosity, the fullness and the weight in the mouth ranging from thin - almost watery - to thick and heavy.
  • Aftertaste... Does the coffee have a pleasant aftertaste?

Coffee cupping is not hard to do, but takes training, practice, and patience. It is a fun way to reward yourself, and allows you to experience a journey that will give you invaluable knowledge as you improve your coffee skills.