Colours of Coffee Flavours

Does my coffee taste musty/earthy or musty/dusty? Hopefully neither, there’s lots of better options. Various fruit, nut, chocolate flavours and even maple syrup! Much better than skunky, cardboard, rubber, petroleum, ashy, acrid or meaty brothy.

The poster shown below is hung as a framed print on the wall of Vanguard cafe at 329 Princes Street, Dunedin and is titled Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel.

Dunedin, New Zealand. Photos taken Monday 16 July 2018.

Coffee Flavours


Its created using the “sensory lexicon developed by World Coffee Research”. Who’d have thought? The inner circle has nine core categories, then there’s a round of sub-categories, and radiating out from these are the flavours. The colours are very eye-catching and the framed print is a pleasure to look at, as well as being easy to understand. Form, function, beauty – I was impressed!

— I’ve provided an image at the end of this post that can be enlarged

Chocolate Espresso Cake

Our refreshments were also impressive…



It tasted every bit as good as it looks!


I chose to drink this because a) milkshakes weren’t on offer and b) I’ve had this drink before here and its available in feijoa flavour (feijoa is my favourite fruit).

Kombucha is a fermented drink made from sweetened tea and a specific culture known as a scoby. This definition is from BBC goodfood, an article by Jo Lewin.

When I poured the drink into the glass it frothed up with a beautiful  beige head but it subsided quickly so you don’t get to see that in the photo.


Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel

I cropped this from the top photo.

** Click on photo to enlarge **


Further Reading

Specialty Coffee Association Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel

World Coffee Research Sensory Lexicon

Colour wheel photo by Nigel. Other photos by Liz; Exploring Colour (2018)



16 thoughts on “Colours of Coffee Flavours

Add yours

  1. I love a good flat white, but I don’t taste the more subtle flavours in coffee, sadly. For me, it’s about how well it’s made. Often not very well here, once you leave the city. I love the poster, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not a coffee person! I only order a single-shot flat white and hope like crazy they make it nice! The poster I’m crazy about though, the attraction of colour and I’m also an ex-librarian so I love the idea of combining colour and a lexicon into something beautiful and easy-to-read!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s really interesting! I often think a local cafe serves muddy coffee (but it’s in a great location). I also often smell tobacco in coffee. But I will try to be more alert to these other flavours.
    This wheel also makes me think about flower scents… wonder if there is an equivalent rose wheel?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Ali, what a lovely thought! I’d love a colour wheel for all the floral scents I love, rose, lavender, violets, lily-of-the-valley, phlox, lilac and so many more!


    1. You are wise to have the courage to refrain! The article by Jo Lewin that I gave a link to in the post does warn that if its made incorrectly it has the potential to make you ill and recommends buying it.

      Liked by 1 person

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