What the Heck are Tasting Notes?

As you venture into the world of specialty grade coffee, you'll surely come across descriptors for a certain bean that go something like "Tart apple, pecan, and creamy finish." So what does that mean? Should this coffee taste like someone threw a couple apples, a handful of pecans, and some whole milk into a blender? Not even close. I don't know about you, but that actually sounds pretty terrible. Or amazing.......I haven't made a final decision yet. Be right back, I'm going to go make a little mess...

Ok, final verdict. Its not the worst thing I've ever tried to drink, but it certainly doesn't taste like any coffee I've ever had. 

Enough horsing around! Back to flavor notes. What the roaster that wrote these notes is trying to convey are subtleties that he or she picked up from this coffee. When they first took a sip, it had something that reminded them of the last time they bit into an apple. Maybe a slight acidity and sweetness. They also picked up on a nutty aftertaste, similar to the taste you get after eating a handful of pecans. And lastly, the coffee had a finish that stayed on the tongue. Kind of a rich creamy feeling you get after taking a drink of whole milk. So while it doesn't necessarily taste exactly like apple, pecan or milk, it has subtleties that trigger something in the brain that says "Hey I've tasted this before!"

I should also mention, when tasting coffee you might not agree 100% with the suggested tasting notes. Maybe to you it tastes like red grapes and graham crackers. And you know what, thats perfectly fine. Taste is subjective. Have fun tasting, experimenting, and deciding what you like. Just don't go blending apples, pecans and milk and expect it to taste like your new bag of coffee.