Coffee Aromas

The Aroma of Coffee Beans

Coffee is a brewed drink prepared from roasted coffee beans, the seeds of berries from various coffee species. When coffee berries turn from green to bright red in color (indicating ripeness),
they are picked processed and dried.  Dried Coffee seeds are roasted.


Whether you brew your own coffee, purchase from a café on your way to work, or grab a cup of coffee from the lunchroom, there are different words to describe coffee from each place. Professional coffee taster have an expansive coffee vocabulary.


There eight main descriptions we use to describe coffee aroma.

  • Caramelly: sugar-browning category of coffee aromas. Use when coffee smell kind of like, or a lot like, caramel.
  • Chocolaty: a chocolate-like amora, the smell isn’t like the chocolate bars, in fact the coffee smell like unsweetened chocolate, cocoa, or even vanilla.
  • Citrus: coffee aromas can also be enzymatic, meaning they are herbal, fruity or flowery.
  • Fragrant: also enzymatic category. A fragrant coffee is one that smells bit like coriander seeds, cardamon or caraway.
  • Floral: fruity coffee aromas fall under the enzymatic category, doesn’t mean the coffee smells like tulips or lavender. Fruity coffees typically smell like coffee blossoms or tea rose.
  • Nutty: also under the sugar-browning category, the smell is like roasted peanuts or walnuts, somewhat earthy.
  • Resinous: coffees that fall under the dry distillation category. These tend to smell like terpenes or like medicines.
  • Spicy: another aroma that fall under the dry distillation category, It can be warming like pepper, cedar, or pungent. It can also smell like clove or thyme.