The 5 Types of Taste for Flavored Coffee Aficionados

The traditional pairing - coffee & sugar

The traditional pairing – coffee & sugar

We all know that there are five types of taste that our tongues can identify. But what is their relationship to coffee specifically? Here’s a little insight into how bitter, salty, sour, sweet, and umami affect the way we enjoy flavored coffee and food.

Bitter

This sensation is primarily perceived by taste buds on the back of the tongue. The general scientific view on bitter taste receptors is that they were developed by our ancestors to help avoid poisonous plants. Our natural aversion to bitterness is actually a self-defense mechanism.

Of course, in the right context, bitterness can actually be quite a pleasant taste. Take quinine, for example, which is found in tonic water. The bitterness of the quinine is precisely what lends a distinctive flavor to a good gin and tonic recipe.

Try the classic vanilla flavor in your drinks or on top of dessert.

Try the classic vanilla flavor in your drinks or on top of dessert.

In terms of coffee, bitterness is almost always present to some degree. If you’re not a fan of bitterness, try cutting it with one of our sweet coffee syrups like Amoretti Premium Milk Chocolate Syrup.

Salty

Salty flavors develop from a presence of sodium chloride. Obviously, this is the least likely of all five tastes to appear in your morning cup of coffee. However, you might be surprised to learn that some people actually add salt to their coffee in order to cut the bitterness. This practice is especially common in Northern Scandinavia, Turkey and Hungary, and at diners with bad coffee all over America. 

Sour

You might not immediately associate ‘sour’ with coffee. However, if you drink a variety of coffees, you’ll find that it’s there! If you’re looking for a coffee that will make your lips pucker, try an Ethiopian Harrar. The fruity acidity of this coffee will give you a very clear picture of what a “sour” coffee can taste like. (And, trust us, it’s delicious!)

Sweet

Obviously, coffee can be quite sweet naturally. If you haven’t experienced this firsthand, then try a mild Latin American coffee. Also, try some food pairings to bring out the sweetness in a good cup of flavored coffee. Of course, you can add your own sweetness with a classic coffee syrup like Amoretti Premium Vanilla Syrup.

Umami

The Japanese word for ‘delicious flavor,’ umami, is the newest identifiable taste to be added to the list. In terms of coffee, umami can be identified as that savory, mouth-coating taste and feel that is akin to eating a steak or grilled mushrooms.

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