In the previous article dedicated to the characteristics of coffee, we learned about roundness and aroma. This time we’ll explore body, as we probe deeper into the world of coffee.
Spreading the culture of fine quality espresso coffee was the mission of our founder, Gaetano Aiello, and it’s one that we still carry forward with passion today. Our aspiration is to help you enjoy your favourite beverage by making you fully familiar with its characteristics and teach you how to distinguish an excellent coffee.
Coffee body in sensorial analysis
Each characteristic of coffee can be associated with one of our senses. Body affects the sense of touch, i.e. that tactile sensation that a coffee conveys, first to our palate, then to our whole mouth and throat. This sensation can be observed when tasting the beverage, but not only: the body of a coffee may even be perceived by professional tasters after digestion!
Later, we’ll explain what body is, in simpler terms. But first, for those who want to know more about the topic, we’ll explain how professional tasters classify body during their sensorial analysis when, for example, they’re in a company and need to select a brand from various proposals to launch on the market, or they find themselves having to judge a series of blends in a competition.
In a sensorial analysis performed by a professional, the body of a coffee is evaluated based on three parameters:
The viscosity of coffee refers to the quantity of solid material distributed in the liquid part.
Oiliness indicates the fat content that rises to the surface of the beverage, as occurs when oil is immersed in water. It is normal for coffee to contain fat because it is naturally drawn out of the raw beans during processing. A coffee with the right quantity of fat will taste pleasant, and it will not leave the mouth oily or a bitter aftertaste.
The density of coffee, as for all other liquids, refers to the ratio between volume and weight. This parameter of coffee body is a combination of so much information that we may even have to write a separate article in order to explain it fully.
Light body and full body
In coffee jargon, the term “chewiness” is also used to indicate the characteristic of body. Body is evaluated on a multi-level scale, which goes from light to full. The level mainly depends on the roasting:
– light bodies are the result of… obviously!… light roasting;
– full bodies are the result of a dark, or strong roasting process.
American coffee blends, for example, are all obtained from strong roasting processes that leave a slightly bitter aftertaste, also because the beverage is highly diluted with water before being tasted.
Instead, the blends of our Italian espresso coffees absorb the minimum quality of water necessary to extract, through steam and strong pressure, the concentrated, tasty drink we are used to. These can derive from both light and strong roasting processes, depending on many factors and the choices of the roasting house, as well as the final use for which the blend is intended. In fact, rather than espresso, it may be created to use in preparations, semi-finished products, and other items.
Strong roasting, as you can imagine, is more aggressive on the raw material, producing a more bitter taste and less delicate aromatic tones, but this doesn’t mean that dark roasting cannot produce an excellent quality of coffee.
The result of light roasting
It has always been our policy to dedicate a personalised production process and a specific roasting process to each variety. Additionally, for all our blends, we use soft roasting which, as its name suggests, is even gentler than light roasting.
A light, non-aggressive body can be obtained when the blend is carefully selected and treated appropriately, based on in-depth knowledge of the raw material. The result is a product that:
- has a dense texture and an intense taste;
- is soft on the palate;
- maintains its organoleptic properties;
- is characterised by the characteristic aromatic aftertaste of raw coffee beans, with all the richness provided by well-balanced tastes;
- maintains a sensation of creaminess that envelopes and satisfies the palate, with all the intensity of its aroma.
We’ll keep analysing the characteristics of coffee until we’ve shed light on them all, so stay tuned! Meanwhile, discover the differences between Arabica and Robusta: you’ll be in for more than a few surprises when learning about the two most popular coffee varieties.