What is a coffee aftertaste?

There are some concepts in the coffee industry, and especially in the world of barismo, that often go unnoticed by the general public. Our mission with this website, apart from commercial advice, is also to disseminate and bring our passion closer to the general public. In this respect, today, we are going to explain the coffee aftertaste.

To do so, the first thing to do is to define the concept of an aftertaste for those who are new to gastronomy:

The aftertaste is the gustatory and aromatic sensation that food leaves us after it has passed through our mouth and has been in contact with our taste buds.

In other words: the aftertaste begins to manifest itself when we swallow the food. It is also called aftertaste, aftertaste or even internal bouquet (this term is more applied to the world of wine).

What is the aftertaste of coffee?

If we apply it to coffee, the aftertaste is the sum or set of sensations, expressions and nuances that we experience in each sip of our drink and which appear just after we have swallowed it. It does not always have to coincide with the taste of the coffee when we put it in our mouth, and of course, it can vary greatly even in different sips of the same drink.

A coffee with a dry or rounded taste in the mouth can culminate in a sweet aftertaste (e.g. with notes of chocolate or vanilla) that leaves a completely different sensation in the mouth than the initial one.

What is the coffee aftertaste like?

The aftertaste of coffee generally has two dimensions: the duration of the aftertaste in the mouth and the taste itself. That is: how long the coffee aftertaste lasts, and what the coffee aftertaste is really like. These two aspects are measured differently.

Depending on its durability: the aftertaste of coffee can be short, long or lingering.

In terms of taste, we can differentiate between the aftertaste of acidity, sweetness and bitterness (with many nuances in between, of course). Let’s analyse each of these values more slowly to learn more about them and to know how to identify them properly in our next tasting:

Acidity in the coffee aftertaste can be sharp and bright (acidic coffee) or mild (coffee with low acidity). An acidic coffee aftertaste will be longer and may linger in the mouth longer than a milder aftertaste. Sometimes an acid aftertaste is a product of the under-extraction of the coffee.

The sweet coffee aftertaste is usually a product of the conditions and origin of the bean, not the extraction process. It is usually the nuance that balances excessive acidity.

Finally, the bitter aftertaste is usually the least pleasant of all and is only acceptable if it is a natural product of the organoleptic properties of the bean we are drinking. If the bitter aftertaste of coffee appears due to other circumstances, such as over-extraction or prolonged roasting, it is usually uncontrolled and leaves a harsh sensation in the throat… which is why we sometimes feel like drinking a glass of cold water after certain coffees.