Tasting Vocabulary : Body

Body or mouthfeel is the sense of heaviness, tactile richness, or thickness when you swish the coffee around your mouth. It also describes texture: oily, buttery, thin, etc. To cite a wine analogy again, cabernets and certain other red wines are heavier in body than most white wines. In this case wine and coffee tasters use the same term for a similar phenomenon. All of the sample coffees I recommend should have relatively substantial body — either the Costa Rica or the Sumatra will be the heaviest and the Kenya — usually a medium-bodied coffee — the lightest. In terms of texture or mouthfeel the Sumatra may display the most interest — perhaps an oily or gritty sensation. But avoid inventing something you fail to taste. None of these coffees will be thin-bodied or anemic.