December 20, 2023

Season 1, Episode 11: Decoded: Analyzing Grocery Store Coffee Labels Through Sensory Analysis

By Oaks The Coffee Guy

Episode Summary:
I discuss my recent experience taste-testing an Amazon Fresh branded Columbian medium roast whole bean coffee. I wanted to analyze the packaging and flavor profile both as market research and to validate their labeling. Going into sensory analysis mode, I outline the standard stages of the roasting process from green to first crack to second crack in order to contextualize what chemically denotes light, medium and dark roasts along that continuum.

However, perceptible roast levels remain subjective depending on factors like processing method and the bean varietal’s inherent flavors. In this case, despite being branded medium roast, systematic measurements and tasting the very muted fruitiness and cocoa notes evidenced an actual dark roast. My ultimate takeaway is that specialty coffee terminology still varies widely, so rather than pretentiously quibbling over imprecise language on cheap grocery store offerings, I should remain focused on properly categorizing and showcasing my own coffees.

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