The Roastmaster's Flavour Guide

Everything you ever wanted to know about coffee flavours but were afraid to ask.

Flavour profiles

Speciality coffee offers so many wonderful and varied flavours that it makes sense to group them so that you can think about what each coffee is expressing from each group. At Union Hand-Roasted, we use four groups:

  • Chocolate & Caramels - encompassing everything from vanilla fudge to bitter dark chocolate.
  • Nuts & Spice - flavours from sweet peanut to woody walnut, with all the dry fragrant spices like clove, cinnamon and black pepper.
  • Citrus & Floral - flowery aromas like bergamot or jasmine, which often come hand in hand with orange and lemon notes.
  • Fruit - in coffee you’ll find a whole range of fruit flavours like apricot, peach, cherry, passion fruit, kiwi fruit…

When you’re tasting (or “cupping”), it’s good to think about these four areas and what your coffee is giving you from each.

Sweetness

Good quality speciality coffees, like the ones you’ll receive from CoffeeClub, tend to have a higher natural sweetness. Also because the beans contain more flavour and are less defective, they can be roasted lighter - a darker roast is often used with cheaper coffee to mask unwanted flavours… but this makes the coffee more bitter, and can give ashy flavours too.

That’s why many people drink speciality coffee without milk, or sugar - because there’s less of a need to mute any bitterness, and people want to enjoy the natural flavours of the coffee. It’s all about your personal preference though. Perhaps try your speciality coffees black first time, and then you can always add milk later if you feel it needs it.

Acidity

A higher acidity in coffee is often a sign that beans have been washed well - so you get a cleaner cup with a lighter body and more lively flavours to taste. But, it is important to remember that the coffee still needs to be well balanced - too much acid obviously won’t be pleasant!

So, when you’re tasting, note the acidity and think about how it works with the other flavours, and then you’ll be able to look out for coffees that give the acidity you like.

Sign up to CoffeeClub today

Freshly hand-roasted speciality coffees delivered weekly, fortnightly or monthly…

Get started

Bitterness

Bitterness and ashy flavours in coffee are caused by molecules created by some chemical reactions that happen at later stages of the roasting process (Dark roast, French roast, Italian roast).


But bitterness isn’t always bad (we all like lemon rind and tonic water, right?). In the right amounts, it’s simply another of the delicious sensations you’ll get from speciality coffee.

Body

“Body” is the texture/feel of the coffee in your mouth. “Heavier” body means a more oily, thicker consistency, whereas lighter is more delicate. Speciality coffees come with different natural levels of body but this is also largely dictated by your how you brew your coffee too (higher temperature extraction methods (e.g. Stovetop) tend to deliver heavier body.


There is no good or bad with body (and of course personal preference matters most) - some flavours work better with certain bodies though. Look out for how citrus notes work well with lighter bodied coffees, whereas dark treacle notes feel right with heavier body.

Balance

Here’s where it gets interesting. The secret to really, really good speciality coffee is a great balance between all the flavours, sweetness, acidity, bitterness and body! So, as you get more and more into tasting your coffees look for the ones that give you a bit of everything - without one sensation overpowering the others.

You control, we roast, the postman delivers

  • 1. Customise your subscription (our roastmaster can help)

    Choose the best coffee subscription package and grind type for you.

  • 2. Freshly hand-roasted & posted the same day

    We then hand-roast in small batches in our East London roastery.

  • 3. DELICIOUS COFFEE DIRECT TO YOUR DOOR

    We send your coffee out in freshness pouches and letterbox-friendly box.

Get started
Close

Choose your perfect subscription

Do you know which coffees you like, or are you looking to discover something new?

Pick your favourite flavour profiles…

Select as many as you like to help the Roastmaster choose coffees you'll love.

Plan your deliveries

Each CoffeeClub delivery contains 2x 200g pouches of speciality coffee (enough for 26 cups). Time to decide how often you get a delivery…

Build a coffee plan

Here's where you can create the perfect coffee gift to suit your budget and your loved one's coffee habit! (You can also add our Fine & Rare pack for a wider selection of flavours and rare coffees in the deliveries.)

1. How many deliveries would you like to send?

Pick a number of deliveries here that matches your budget… or your loved-one's coffee habit!

Each delivery is worth £12.95 and contains 2x 200g bags of coffee (£6.47 per bag).

Each delivery is worth £14.95 and contains 2x 200g bags of coffee (£7.47 per bag).

Send me coffee…

2. How often would you like the coffee to be sent?



(Deliveries are free, so pick the frequency that works for you)

(Deliveries are free, so pick the frequency that works for them)

3. Time the first delivery to perfection?

The postie's average delivery time is 3 working days. So if you want your gift to arrive in time for a particular date, select a dispatch date a few days before that below…

4.Include a heartfelt / romantic / witty message!

Upgrade to receive some seriously special coffee

You’ve selected in your subscription, so we'd recommend upgrading to our Fine and Rare plan to increase your selection of coffees. These flavours tend to be most commonly found in Microlot coffees - exclusive to our Fine & Rare subscriptions.

Adding the Fine & Rare pack is just £2 extra per delivery, but gives you access to coffees you won't find anywhere else. Like our Microlots - limited parcels of rare, seasonal coffees you won't find anywhere else in the UK.

Adding the Fine & Rare pack is just £2 extra per delivery, but gives you access to coffees you won't find anywhere else. Like our Microlots - limited parcels of rare, seasonal coffees you won't find anywhere else in the UK.

  • Full range of exclusive Single Origin coffees
  • Limited parcel, seasonal Microlots

Select your grind

Give them the perfect grinds

How do you brew?

If you know the reciepient's preferred way to brew, select it below and we'll send them coffee perfectly ground to work with their kit. (If you don't know, we recommend going with wholebean. Or have a guess and if you get it wrong, we can always change it!)

Select the coffees you'd like to receive

Fine & Rare
NOTES
Loquat, Peach, Marzipan
Light Roast
Quality Score
NOTES
Red apple, Raspberry Jam, Sticky toffee
Light Roast
Quality Score
NOTES
Morello Cherry, Macadamia, Milk Chocolate
Light Roast
Quality Score
NOTES
Macadamia, Fig, Red Grape
Light Roast
Quality Score
NOTES
Tangerine, Stone Fruits, Maple Syrup
Light Roast
Quality Score
Fine & Rare
NOTES
White Grape, Milk Chocolate, Honeysuckle
Light Roast
Quality Score
Fine & Rare
NOTES
Tangerine, Dark Chocolate, Passion Fruit
Light Roast
Quality Score
NOTES
Candied Orange, Dark Chocolate, Caramelised Peanuts
Light Roast
Quality Score
NOTES
Fudge, Treacle, Dark chocolate
Dark Roast
Quality Score
NOTES
Dark Chocolate, Grapefruit, Treacle
Dark Roast
Quality Score
NOTES
Dried Fruit, Roasted Hazelnut, Milk Chocolate
Medium Roast
Quality Score
NOTES
red grape, dark chocolate, custard cream
Medium Roast
Quality Score
NOTES
Citrus, Redcurrant, Toffee
Medium Roast
Quality Score
Fine & Rare
NOTES
Malt, Caramel, White Grapes
Light Roast
Quality Score
NOTES
Chocolate Truffle, Fudge, Candied Lemon
Medium Roast
Quality Score
NOTES
Treacle, Dark Chocolate, Cinnamon
Dark Roast
Quality Score
Fine & Rare
NOTES
Candied Lemon, Blackcurrant Jam, Caramel
Medium Roast
Quality Score
NOTES
Plum, Orange Blossom, Maple Syrup
Light Roast
Quality Score
Fine & Rare
NOTES
Pink Grapefruit, Cocoa, Citrus
Light Roast
Quality Score
Fine & Rare
NOTES
Candied Lemon, Nectarine, Honeysuckle
Light Roast
Quality Score
NOTES
Citrus, Marzipan, Bourbon Biscuit
Medium Roast
Quality Score
Fine & Rare
NOTES
Kumquat, Peach, Toffee
Light Roast
Quality Score

You have selected 0 coffees 0 Speciality coffees and 0 Premium Speciality coffees. Please add a Premium Speciality coffee or press next and we'll remove the Premium Speciality coffee upgrade from your subscription.

Next Skip

Updating Subscription

One moment please