The Flavor Wheel

The Flavor Wheel


Coffee is a complex fruit which has over 800 chemical compounds that give it its unique attributes that allow us to describe their flavors with diverse tasting notes such as jasmine, floral rose, orange, peach, and lavender.

Similar to wine, your coffee’s attributes and tasting notes change drastically depending on the tree species/variety that produced the cherry; the terroir in which the tree developed; the fertilizer, minerals and other nutrients the tree had access to; the altitude, amount of sun, shade, water and weather conditions; the fermentation process it was subject to before and during the drying process; the roast curve, the brewing formula, and brewing method, among other factors.

At Colibri Mountain Coffee we choose your coffee based on clear and distinctive taste profiles rather than a specific origin. Well, sort of. We are committed to sourcing all our coffees from sustainable farms in Colombia, but once this criterion is met, we blind taste hundreds of coffees and select our favorites that match the flavors that we are looking for.


We developed the Colibri Flavor Wheel as a starting point to help us describe each coffee’s unique fragrance, aroma, taste and body. And these four terms are important:

  • Fragrance is what coffee smells like – and its most potent in freshly roasted coffee, immediately after grinding. 
  • Aroma is what coffee smells like when it comes in contact with hot water.
  • Taste is perceived in the tongue and has different levels of sweetness, acidity, bitterness, saltiness and umami.
  • Body is the mouthfeel, the tactile impression of weight, viscosity and fullness we perceive as we swirl the coffee around our mouth, and it ranges from light to heavy.
For each characteristic, we always start in the center and ask ourselves is if this coffee feels fruity, floral, herbal and/or nutty. Then we start digging into the various subcategories, e.g. tropical, citrus, berries, etc. and so forth. As for sweetness, we ask ourselves if it comes from fruits or if it feels added, as if coming from honey, brown sugar, caramel or maple. Some fruits, such as lime and lemon don’t have a natural sweetness, so the sweet notes are mostly coming from the Sweet section of the flavor wheel. 

One coffee can express many different attributes within the flavor wheel. More than likely, we will be able to identify attributes that are not described in the flavor wheel – and that is perfect! The wheel is just a tool to help us have present the concepts of certain attributes, but the options are limitless. Thus, it is surprising how little experience a person needs to have to be able to feel and identify these various attributes. We have been inadvertently training our nose and tongue our entire life!

Our initial coffee offering is made of three, very distinctive coffees selected to highlight the following taste profiles:




El Dorado

Fruity, with tasting notes of fruit punch, melon, passion fruit and strawberry.

Floral, with tasting notes of jasmine, floral rose, orange, peach, and lavender.

Nutty, with notes of dark chocolate, caramel, sour cherry and apple pie.

Next time you are brewing coffee,
close our eyes and open up your senses!






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