Coffee strength: what it is and which one to choose

When we talk about coffee intensity, we are referring to a crucial aspect which concerns the consistency of the body and the aromatic richness of the drink. These two elements are essential for understanding the intensity of a coffee and appreciating its sensory nuances.

The body of the coffee is evaluated through tactile sensitivity which provides perceptions of a physical type (volume, viscosity , shape, etc. ), examining the consistency and structure of the liquid. To get an idea, we can think of hot chocolate with its full-bodied consistency, oil with a medium consistency and water without body.
aromatic intensity, on the other hand, refers to the quantity of aromas that are perceived through the sense of smell when approaching a cup of coffee to the nose. It is important to note that it is the quantity of the aromas, not the their quality, an aspect that will be evaluated later.

Usually, a scale from 1 to 10 is used to describe the strength of a coffee. A coffee with a low intensity, around 1, has a light body and delicate aromas. Conversely, a coffee with a high intensity, around 10, is characterized by a consistent body e a intense aromatic charge.

After becoming familiar with the fundamental concepts, it is possible to categorize espresso coffee based on body and aroma, offering reference points for identifying the personal preference:

Light coffee and delicate aromas (strength from 1 to 4)

These coffees are distinguished by a light body that approaches the consistency of water. The aromas are subtle and nuanced, offering a sensory delicacy that can be appreciated by lovers of milder flavours.

Balanced coffee, with a round body and rich flavors (strengths from 5 to 7)

This category of coffee offers a compromise between lightness and strength. The body is round and well structured, while the aromas are balanced and offer a pleasing variety of flavours, creating a harmonious tasting experience.

Coffee with a consistent body and intense aromas (intensity from 8 to 10)

These coffees are characterized by a full body and a strong sensory presence. The aromas are intense, offering a powerful olfactory charge that can satisfy those looking for a bold and decisive tasting experience.

How can you objectively evaluate the strength of your coffee? 

Intensità del Caffè

A common technique is to bring the cup to your nose and inhale deeply. In this way, one can perceive if the aromas are intense or barely perceptible. It is important to remember that we are evaluating the quantity of flavors, not the quality.

After the olfactory analysis, it's time to taste the coffee. It is recommended to take a sip and run the liquid over the tongue and palate to assess its viscosity and texture.

Remember that the categories described above provide a general guide, but personal exploration and direct tasting remain the best ways to discover your favorite coffee, taking into account individual preferences and desired sensory nuances.

But how can we fully appreciate the aromatic charge and body of coffee? The keyword is to experiment. The best way to fully understand these characteristics and become an expert is to try different types of coffee, blends with different percentages of Arabica and Robusta, and compare them.

It is important to note that the strength of a coffee is not necessarily synonymous with quality. While it's true that no one wants bland coffee, fuller-bodied coffees, often associated with the Robusta variety, aren't always considered to be more prized than Arabica. Furthermore, the aromatic quality is just as important as the intensity. A coffee can be intense, but if it has burnt, moldy or ash aromas, it will not be considered high quality.

To fully appreciate a coffee, it is essential to find thebalance between body, aromatic intensity and quality of aromas. When these elements combine harmoniously, creating a pleasant tasting experience on all fronts, then we can talk about a quality coffee.