Coffee Sensory Card – What is it?

In the course of professionalization in the food industry, sensor technology was also introduced for coffee and a sensor card associated with it.

What is the coffee sensory map?

In short, the sensory map is a creation of the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) and the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia, who in the late 1990s managed to create a list of terms that can be used to identify aspects such as taste, aroma and color of coffee.

With the standardization of these characteristics, both professional and novice tasters had a guide of sorts with which to define characteristics such as taste, aroma and texture that they found in their cup of coffee.

What does the sensory map of coffee consist of?

The coffee sensory map attempts to divide coffee characteristics into three main groups: coffee aroma, coffee taste, and coffee appearance.

Breaking down coffee tasting into these three steps allows us to recognize a greater number of characteristics that we would not normally perceive.

The coffee aroma

The final aroma of a cup of coffee can be determined by many factors, be it how the beans are made or even how it is brewed.

At this stage of the cupping, the production of the coffee can be greatly affected if the coffee tree has been planted with shade trees or other trees around it, because some fruits or herbs are extremely aromatic, which will leave some odors in our finished cup.

The brewing method is also paramount because if the bean has been exposed to extreme heat during roasting, the finished cup can have a burnt aroma.

The taste of coffee

In contrast to the aroma of the coffee, the taste of the coffee can be determined very individually, since everyone perceives aromas differently.

Ideally, the coffee should be prepared without any additional ingredients such as milk or sugar in order to taste the exact taste of the coffee.

In this part of the cupping, you can note the acidity of the bean, the bitterness, or the sweetness of the bean.

  • Acidity is a characteristic attributed to coffee when it exhibits citrus, vinous, or other acidic notes.
  • Sweetness is a characteristic attributed to coffee when it has naturally sweet notes that are not due to human-added sweeteners.
  • Bitter, a characteristic attributed to coffee due to its strong flavor notes; there are also some types of coffee with chocolate notes.

The appearance of the coffee

This is the final section of cupping, done when the cup is ready to drink.

Ideally, the final color of the drink should be estimated, for this there are two very important characteristics:

  • If the color of the coffee shows dark red tones with small dark brown lines, you can tell without much effort that it is an Arabica bean.
  • However, if the coffee is fairly dark brown with some gray tones, it can be identified as Robusta.

The different types of foam that form at the top of the cup can also tell you something about the bean. If there are large bubbles in the foam, it is a Robusta coffee.


Although it may not seem like it, coffee tasting is an activity that has become very important in recent years because with the increase in coffee production and the emergence of coffee shops, the demand for coffee tasters can increase significantly.


Coffee tasting is an excellent way to get into the world of coffee and one of the best guides you can find is the coffee sensory map.