When talking about the “flavor profile” of Kona coffee, what you are really doing is talking about specific characteristics that give you means to objectively describe how a particular coffee tastes. These coffee characteristics can be complex but commonly include: aroma, body, flavor, acidity, sweetness and aftertaste. These characteristics are based on an intensity scale, ranging from completely absent to very intense. Here is what each of the characteristics mean:
Aroma: Refers to what coffee smells like before you taste it, either as beans or after being brewed. Aroma can tell you about how fresh the coffee is and the degree of roasting.
Body: The way the coffee feels in your mouth; the coffee “weight” and “texture.”
Flavor: What does the coffee taste like? Literally dozens of terms can be used to describe flavor: chocolate, nutty, berry, earthy, citrus, spicy, fruity, woody and many more. This is usually very subjective but often determines your like or dislike of the coffee.
Sweetness: Having some kind of detectable underlying sweetness, as opposed to being bitter or harsh. Sometimes this is described as being rich or mellow.
Aftertaste: Refers to the coffee taste that lingers in the mouth or tongue after the coffee has been swallowed.
Acidity: Acidity is desirable in coffee and gives it its verve or brightness.
Of course, many people enjoy a cup of coffee without ever thinking about why they prefer it. As with drinking wines, giving some thought to characteristics can let you discover why you like a coffee objectively and actually enhance your drinking experience.