The taste of coffee - What factors influence the aroma of coffee

at the tasting unbound

Everything you need to know about why your coffee tastes so deliciously of dark chocolate or marzipan and why you can enjoy our Go Nuts without worrying if you have a nut allergy. 

Table of contents

Over 800 natural flavors in coffee

Coffee has far more naturally occurring aromas than wine. With good wines, we are used to classifying the taste into certain nuances such as floral, earthy, spicy or citrusy. Coffee has twice as many naturally occurring aromas compared to wine. This fact makes it more than the good-morning cappuccino. Through a wide variety of preparation methods, you can tease out the most diverse flavors from it. Distinguishing between different flavors takes a little practice until you can distinguish the individual notes. However, you will be able to perceive the main characteristics after just a few tries. 

coffee can taste nutty unbound

How to test coffee properly - a tip from your roaster

Next time you enjoy your coffee, close your eyes for a moment, smell your freshly brewed cup of coffee and sip it in small sips. While sipping, the person sitting next to you will give you some strange looks, but this is the only way you can perceive the coffee in the entire mouth, throat and nasal cavity and taste all the nuances. 

espresso tasting unbound

No artificial additives - flavors in coffee are pure nature 

Taste: nutty; aromas of almond and fresh marzipan.

Taste: acidic-fruity, aromas of wild berries.

When you read this or similar descriptions on your coffee packaging, it doesn't automatically mean that the flavor has been added artificially. In the specialty coffee sector, it describes the direction in which your coffee's natural flavors go. At unbound, for example, we name our specialty coffees after the main flavor direction our coffee takes. Our Merry Blueberry, for example, tastes deliciously fruity and fresh like blueberries, while our Nutty Butty is delicately nutty with aromas of hazelnut and almond.

fruity beaty and chemex unbound

Where do the flavors in coffee come from? 

The natural flavors in your coffee are made up of several factors.

The type of coffee - Arabica or Robusta

In the first place, the type of coffee plays an important role. Coffee can basically be divided into two types. Canephora, or often called Robusta in common parlance, usually tastes earthy-chocolatey. Arabica beans, on the other hand, are characterized by a variety of flavor nuances. These range from floral to citrusy to exotic fruits, berries, but also almond and marzipan. 

coffee beans unbound

Growing condition and preparation of coffee 

Coffee is a natural product, so its taste is not exactly the same every year. Temperature, precipitation and the number of hours of sunshine influence the taste of coffee, which is why, like wine, it tastes a little different every year.

The subsequent preparation of the beans can also influence the subsequent taste. A distinction is made here as to when and how the pulp is separated from the bean:

coffee cherry unbound


In wet processing, also called washed, the pulp is separated from the bean before drying. The beans are then fermented in a water tank to gently remove resistant components of the coffee bean, and then dried. They are characterized by a clear flavor profile, a slight sweetness and explosive fruitiness and acidity. 


Natural refers to the dry processing of coffee beans. The pulp remains on the bean during the entire drying process and is only separated before further processing. The important thing for good quality is high-quality drying under constant weather conditions. If these are given, your Natural coffee tastes uniquely sweet, flowery-fruity and full-bodied. 

coffee cherries are sorted out unbound


Yes, it is indeed exactly what it sounds like: the coffee is deliberately exposed to wind and moisture over a long period of time. This type of preparation is used primarily in India and is intended to simulate the long transport of the coffee by ship. The coffee was exposed to wind and weather and thus developed its characteristic taste. This "rain coffee" tastes uniquely spicy and is very low in acidity. 

Preparation - coffee preparation methods in comparison of taste

Depending on whether you make your coffee with a portafilter, French press, mocha maker, or hand filter, it will always taste a little different. The different brewing methods are based on three principles of coffee making: pour over, full immersion, and pressurized coffee brewing.
In the Pour Over process, the coffee powder is extracted virtually as it passes by, as in the preparation with the hand filter. To do this, hot water is poured onto the ground coffee powder at different intervals.
The full immersion method includes French Press and Cold Brew, for example. The coffee powder is mixed with hot or cold water to extract aromas from the coffee over a certain period of time. The powder is then filtered out.

coffee preparation overview unbound

So how does the way I brew it affect the taste of my coffee? 

Each preparation method teases out its own unique aromas from the coffee bean. Full immersion offers you a velvety, full-bodied coffee experience and allows flavors such as dark chocolate, nut, and spice to come to the fore. With pour-over brewing, these heavier flavors tend to be held back by the filter used. The result is a light, fresh coffee that leaves plenty of room for subtle citrus flavors and fresh-fruity acidity. With the portafilter, you can tease out nutty-chocolatey flavors, but also reduce the acidity a bit and enjoy your coffee sweet-fruity like a praline. As you can see, it pays to experiment.

Wood handles luna espressomashines unbound

How many aromas does coffee have and how do we perceive the taste of coffee? 

As already mentioned, coffee has over 800 different natural flavors. These can be roughly divided into subgroups, which you can find on the coffee aroma wheel. They range from floral, sweet and fruity to sour and fermented to nutty-chocolatey and spicy. 

Coffee aromas wheel

Good to know: Tastes and flavors - what's the difference?

Often misunderstood in the German language, taste is understood to mean those 4 flavors that we can perceive via the tongue. These are sweet, sour, salty and bitter. Aromas, on the other hand, are detected via receptors in the nose and throat. They offer far more scope. When recognizing aromas, our brain falls back on already existing, stored aromas and tries to match the new aromas with them. That's why it's important to try out as many different coffee beans as possible to get to know the variety and also to distinguish between them. Next time, just take your time over a good filter coffee and take a look at the aroma wheel, and you may already be able to make an initial classification. 

By the way, aromas are perceived very individually - so there is no right or wrong!  

You'll see that even if it's hard at the beginning, with time you'll be able to match coffees more and more easily. The wheel also helps you by assigning flavors to foods you already know, such as blueberry, apple, lemon, or even vanilla and black tea.
The fifth flavor, umami, can also be perceived in coffee. Umami stands for full-bodied taste, and in coffee it manifests itself in a full body and a velvety-soft mouthfeel reminiscent of a cream candy.

filter coffee in the v60 unbound

Natural flavors and flavored coffee - what's the difference?

Flavors occur completely naturally in your coffee. In flavored coffee or coffee with flavorings, on the other hand, flavors such as chocolate, vanilla or hazelnut are added artificially. They are not created by growing conditions, further processing and roasting, but are added afterwards. 

quality control coffee unbound

Click here for our BIO coffees: 

11,40 €
11,90 €