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Simon Says - The Flavour Wheel

Greetings, coffee lovers! Welcome to Episode 5 of Simon Says, where today we’re talking about the famous Flavour Wheel.  

Did you know coffee can be turpeny, leguminous, alliceous, piquant, nippy, caustic, phenolic or resinous? Well, it can be! Let’s find out more…

First published in 1995, the Flavour Wheel is a tool used to describe coffee flavour - with experts using this as a guide to help them assess a brew's flavour profile.

It’s important to remember the wheel isn’t a tool that decides whether a coffee is good or bad, it will simply help you to identify the flavours! Whether or not you rate the coffee highly is completely subjective and up to your individual preference. Your unique palette will be the main factor that determines the type of coffee that resonates with you.

According to our Q Grader (read: coffee genius) Simon, there are hundreds of flavour combinations that the wheel can identify. If you take a look at the image below, you will see that the inside of the wheel has some quite broad flavour notes (sweet, fruity, spices) before getting more specific the further you head towards the outside (peach, cinnamon, whiskey).

Simon says one of the most important things to think about when assessing the flavours in this way, is to ensure that the coffee has a broad range of flavours without overloading the palette and losing its identity. Too many flavours will unbalance the taste which in the coffee world is considered undesirable.

Simon says ideally he likes to taste flavours from 4-5 of the different areas, which will add some nice complexity and give the coffee character. A cup with only 1 or 2 of these flavours runs the risk of being a little bit dull and boring to the discerning palette.  

Keen to try and use the Flavour Wheel on your next cup of Merlo coffee? All of our Merlo coffee beans have been ‘cupped’ by the experts, and the flavour notes are online. Let us know how you go and you could get yourself featured!

As always, you can reach out to us on Social via @merlocoffee – we love hearing from you.