Flavor Wheels Help You Describe the Taste of Everything (Party Trick!)

Rachel Tepper Paley
Yahoo Food

Courtesy of Counter Culture Coffee (Click here for larger version)

Ever had a moment when you couldn’t find the right word to describe a wonderfully complex flavor? It can be dumbfounding, even for the pros. 

That steaming, pour-over brew made using Remera coffee beans? Its flavor is so, so… what’s the word? According to Counter Culture, a number of descriptors work. “Bright,” “berry,” and “Concord grape” are among the options, with others including “grain & cereal,” “soil,” and “meat-like.”

These phrases are all spokes on the Counter Culture Coffee flavor wheel, which the company released earlier this year as an update to the 1990s-era Specialty Coffee Association of America flavor wheel. That diagram was inspired by the Wine Aroma Wheel, which was created in the 1980s by University of California, Davis researcher Ann C. Noble.

But flavor wheels aren’t just for coffee and wine. There’s a whole wild world of flavor wheels out there, offering vocabulary to better describe what you’re tasting, from oysters to olive oil. They’re essentially food thesauruses. 

Check out some of our favorites below. At your next pub outing, maybe casually mention that your beer has “grassy notes of sweet corn with hints of bonfire and biscuits.” You might just impress the bartender.

Beer Flavor Wheel

Courtesy of Matt Dredge (Click here for larger version)

Oyster Flavor Wheel

Courtesy of Patrick McMurray (Click here for larger version)

Maple Syrup Wheel

Courtesy of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (Click here for larger version)

Olive Oil Flavor Wheel

Courtesy of The Aroma Dictionary

Whiskey Flavor Wheel

Courtesy of Foodpairing.com (Click here for larger version)

Cheese Flavor Wheel

Courtesy of Cheese Culture (Click here for larger version)

Wine Aroma Wheel

Courtesy of Winearomawheel.com (Click here for larger version)

Chocolate Flavor Wheel

Courtesy of Mont Blanc Gourmet (Click here for larger version)