Understanding the Coffee Flavour Wheel + Combinations You Should Try

Understanding the Coffee Flavour Wheel + Combinations You Should Try

What makes some flavour combinations so addicting that they linger in our minds long after? Why do these flavours complement each other so well?

If your interests in kaapi go beyond simply making yourself a cup each morning just to get through the day, you would be interested in understanding the coffee flavour wheel. 

We’re also going to share some flavour combinations that we think you should try.

What is the Coffee Flavour Wheel?

The coffee flavour wheel is a chart that classifies different coffee descriptors based on flavour categories that align with both taste and aroma.

This wheel was created by the Specialty Coffee Association so that coffee roasters and professionals alike can describe the flavour profile of a coffee, making it easier for customers to choose blends as per their preferences. 

There are 3 levels to the coffee flavour wheel, starting with the innermost circle that has 9 categories - sweet, floral, fruity, sour, green, other, roasted, spices, and nutty/ cocoa. 

what is coffee flavour wheel

With the next level, each of these classifications is further divided into more specific flavour notes. Think citrus fruits, berries, and dried fruits for the fruity category. 

The final sphere on the flavour wheel will give you the exact flavour notes for each of the categories. This is where you can differentiate coffee with a subtle apple flavour versus one that has a coconut flavour note. 

Coffee Flavour Combinations That Match Perfectly

Some flavours have a long culinary history of being used together. Others are more recent discoveries. 

Either way, here are a few flavour combinations that you should try. These combinations could be present in the coffee you drink or simply paired together by preparing desserts of your liking.

  • Coffee and Chocolate - There are many coffees in the world that naturally have hints of chocolate in them. This is because of the manner in which the roasting transforms the organic compounds in the coffee beans.

    If you are looking to bring the two flavours together, opt for a coffee that has a sweeter profile and prepare some dark chocolate chip cookies to go with the brew.

  • Coffee and Orange - Citrusy tastes are yet another popular flavour combination with coffee. This is because coffee is generally described as bitter and strong. So having an undertone of an orange flavour makes it less overwhelming and adds a tangy taste to the coffee. 

    Our Heritage kaapi will give you an idea of what coffee with chocolate and orange flavours tastes like. Alternatively, you can pick a coffee that is of medium to dark roast and serve it with a lemon tart on the side.

coffee flavour combinations to try
  • Coffee and Cinnamon - Cinnamon’s earthy-spicy flavours complement a coffee that has a fruity flavour profile or one that is brewed with milk.

    If you happen to pick a coffee that has cinnamon flavour notes, try baking cupcakes with it or even an espresso mousse. You’ll be cleaning off crumbs before you’ve realised.

  • Coffee and Hazelnut - Nuts add intricacy to a coffee’s flavour profile by making the tasting experience more rich. Common notes you may encounter include hazelnut and almond.

    In terms of food, we think having a hazelnut pie along with a glass of an iced Americano would be a great idea. Try the Malgudi Days Mysuru kaapi for a combination of nutty-spicy and chocolate flavours.

  • Coffee and Vanilla - You know that vanilla and coffee are a perfect match considering that the Italians invented a dessert drink with these two. We’re referring to the Affogato which is vanilla ice cream topped with a shot (or two) of espresso.

    Vanilla’s creamy-floral flavours make a medium roast coffee stand out. Although a subtle flavour, it can liven up your coffee.

  • Coffee and Caramel - When you have natural sweet flavours in your coffee, you’ll find that you won’t need to add sugar or milk to make the coffee more palatable. Caramel and maple are two such flavours that can be found in coffees. 

    Wondering how you can try out this combination with food? Brew yourself a bold cup of coffee using either an espresso machine or a stovetop coffee maker and enjoy the cup with bites of a salted caramel custard or flan.

Leave a comment: