Stumptown Coffee Tasting Guide

We're asked lots of questions about how best to navigate our coffee menu and flavor notes. So here you have it! We’ve developed a Stumptown Coffee Tasting Guide.

We recommend using this guide as a starting place to help you find out which type of coffees you will like best or to help describe coffees you already know and love.

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Tasting Guide - Slider 1
Tasting Guide - Slider 1

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Coffee is the most chemically complex food we ingest—it contains 2 to 3 times as many flavor compounds as wine. The tasting notes we include on our bags are a way to delineate subtle underlying aromas and flavors that emerge when tasting coffees side by side, but they aren’t arbitrary.

The flavors we taste in our coffees correspond with the foods we describe, so when we taste notes of chocolate or green apple in a coffee, it’s because the coffee contains the same flavor compounds as the foods they remind us of.

Blends are always a good entryway to our coffees. They sit in the center of the Tasting Guide because they are a combination of different regions. One of our most popular blends, Hair Bender, is a complex, bold and balanced blend made up of African, Latin American and Indonesian coffees.

If you tend to like notes of chocolate, nuts, and sweet heavy fruits, the Latin American coffees are a great bet (try Guatemala El Injerto Bourbon). If you like bold, earthy, heavy-bodied coffees, try an Indonesian single origin (like Bies Penantan). These are also often popular for people who like flavors of darker-roasted coffees. For a delicate, bright and floral cup, head to Africa (Ethiopia Mordecofe is a great place to start). These coffees often have notes of citrus and stone fruits, with floral aromas.

It’s also good to remember that this is just a guide that provides a starting place to begin thinking about flavors on a spectrum; your own explorations may lead you in other directions. If you're having trouble choosing a coffee, take a stroll through our coffee quiz, or ask your barista for help—Stumptown has a wide variety of coffees, suitable for a broad set of sippers. Good luck!