What is Coffee “Aftertaste”?

A coffee’s aftertaste, also called the finish, is a taste that remains in the mouth subsequent to swallowing a sip of brewed coffee. Aftertastes range from chocolaty to carbony, turpeny to spicy, possibly with hints of caramel, fruitiness, smokiness, roastiness, and other flavors.

Coffee Aftertaste and its Relation to the Coffee’s Volatile and Organic Compounds

A coffee’s aftertaste is created by vapors and gases – volatile organic compounds – from the ground and brewed coffee beans. These vapors that create the aftertaste are released from the residue that remains in the mouth after swallowing the coffee.

Coffee Cupping – Evaluating the Coffee’s Finish

A coffee’s aftertaste is one of the things that cuppers (professional coffee tasters) use to judge the coffee, rating the intensity and quality of the aroma and flavor that remains after the coffee has been swooshed around in the mouth and then either swallowed or spit out (as a cupper may do).

Gourmet Coffee and Fine Espresso Brewing Tips

For tips on brewing the perfect cup of coffee see our section on Coffee Brewing.

For step-by-step instructions see Pulling A Perfect Espresso Shot as well as How to make Lattes and Cappuccinos.

For the most comprehensive source of all things coffee and espresso check out theĀ Coffee and Espresso Glossary and then read about the plant’s rich past in theĀ World’s Best History of Coffee.

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