Coffee intensity: what it is and which one to choose

When we talk about intensity in coffee, 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 fundamental for understanding the intensity of a coffee and appreciating its sensory nuances.

The body of the coffee is evaluated through tactile sensitivity which provides physical perceptions (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, however, refers to the quantity of aromas that are perceived through smell when approaching a cup of coffee to the nose. It is important to note that it is a question of the quantity of the aromas, not their quality, an aspect which will be evaluated later.

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

After having become familiar with the fundamental concepts, it is possible to categorize espresso coffee based on body and aroma, offering points of reference to identify the personal preference:

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

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

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

This category of coffee offers a compromise between lightness and robustness. The body is round and well structured, while the aromas are balanced and offer a pleasant variety of flavors, 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 sensorial presence. The aromas are intense, offering a powerful olfactory boost that can satisfy those looking for a bold and bold tasting experience.

How can you objectively evaluate the intensity of your coffee? 

Intensità del Caffè

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

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

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 key word is 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 with each other.

It is important to note that the intensity 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, are not always considered more premium than arabica ones. Furthermore, aromatic quality is just as important as intensity. A coffee can be intense, but if it has burnt, musty 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.