New Bags Mapping Single-Origin Coffees

January 26, 2017

Next time you see our bags on the shelves, you might be surprised by the new look. The inspiration goes back to our mission of making outstanding specialty coffee more approachable.

We’ve been selling single origin varietals for years, and the question we keep getting from customers is “which one should I buy and why?” The answer depends on the customer. Even though every crop is different, single-origin coffees are generally prized because they consistently accentuate key flavor profiles. As coffee roasters, part of our job is to tailor the roasting process to bring out those flavor profiles in each coffee, and share them with customers in an easy-to-understand way.

It starts on the front end, when we host coffee “cuppings” (or tastings) to sample and untangle the precise bouquet of flavors that each coffee produces. That’s where our cupping experts come in, assessing each coffee’s numerous characteristics (e.g., “body,” “acidity,” “aftertaste”) across a wide spectrum of possible flavors. That flavor spectrum has been helpfully elaborated by the pros at the Specialty Coffee Association of America, who developed (and recently remodeled) a visually-striking Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel (based on work by World Coffee Research) to identify 116 flavor attributes of coffee––from spicy tastes like nutmeg, to sweet tastes like maple syrup, to fruity tastes like pear.

But even if we place our coffees on this spectrum with precision, at the end of the day we need to be able to quickly convey to our customers why they should care. Thus, the advent of Commonwealth Joe Coffee Roasters’ “Flavor Hexagon,” which simplifies the hundred-plus distinct flavor attributes of coffee into six primary categories, which also roughly correspond to roast level (dark to light): spicy, chocolatey, nutty, sweet, floral, and fruity.

On the back of each of our bags, the Flavor Hexagon is the key for mapping out the flavor attributes of a particular coffee:

                                           

The Flavor Hexagon also is at the core of our new logo, representing our commitment not only to the craft of coffee roasting, but to the art of explaining our coffees to customers in a way that makes sense.  Let us know if you want to take a deeper dive––we’re always happy to jump into the details!