Possible sensory characteristics of the final coffee drink
- CORRECT: sweetness, complex acidity/fruit tones, sweet & ripe, full body, long ending
- UNDER-EXTRACTED: Sourness, saltiness, grassy, quick finish, lacking sweet, straw feeling
- OVER-EXTRACTED: bitter, sharp, dry, saltiness
- FLAT FLAVOURS: Usually the problem is not only created during the brewing process (for example by not choosing a suitable preparation method), but often times it’s caused by low quality coffee beans as well.
Under extraction – common mistakes
• wrong water temperature – too low
• the brewing process was too short – as a result not enough flavours had been extracted from the ground
• wrong grinding of the coffee beans, i.e. too coarse grinding
• quality of water, i.e. the water was too hard and/or had a low mineral content
• roasting – the level of roasting was not suitable for the coffee beans
Over-extraction – common mistakes
• wrong water temperature – too high
• wrong grinding – too fine
• the brewing process was too long
• the flow of water was not smooth, inconsistent, i.e. the water streams power was unstable – as a result the coffee dust had been washed to the middle of the ground bed while the water remained in the filter.
• the filter had a low quality, i.e. insufficient pores of the paper filter – as a result the water flow was not effective
• some coffee beans are oilier and intensive – with such beans we have to work very carefully
Other mistakes that affect the flavours of the final cup:
• the water had been poured too often
• bad grinding because a low-quality grinder had been used – as a result the ground consists of inconsistent grind sizes
• the paper filter had not been rinsed correctly – as a result the final drink has a bad aftertaste
• a low quality steel filter had been used – as a result the final drink has a strong aftertaste
Keep in mind that also the temperature of the final coffee drink affects the flavour profile. It’s advised to let the coffee cool down a bit after it had been brewed. The coffee tastes best, when it’s not too hot. For light to medium roasted beans, I recommend a drinking temperature of around 40°C (104°F). A few times I was surprised to have a great tasting experience when the temperature of the final drink was already quite cold, between 20-30°C (68-86°F).