Development of a living lexicon for descriptive sensory analysis of brewed coffee Academic Article uri icon


  • 2016 The Authors Journal of Sensory Studies Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Coffee is one of the most common beverages in the world. However, a sensory lexicon for determining descriptive differences resulting from breeding, agronomic, processing, storage, and brewing modifications is needed. This study developed a sensory lexicon for brewed coffee. More than 100 different coffee samples from 14 countries around the world were used to create this lexicon in four Phases. A highly trained panel assessed all coffee samples using descriptive analysis. The sensory panel identified 110 attributes (many used both for aroma and flavor) and references. Principal component analysis was used to map the scores obtained during the validation phase. For this phase the coffee lexicon allowed the panelists to describe specific characteristics that were present in the coffee samples such as sweet, nutty and fruity notes, as well as the differentiation of notes such as burnt, smoky, astringent, acrid and bitter. The developed attributes and references were successfully used by the trained panel to describe a wide range of coffee samples. The lexicon is considered living because additional terms should be added as needed to expand the lexicon to include attributes that are not included here. Practical applications: The terminology developed during this study is clear, easy to reproduce in future research, and accompanied by reference standards that provide a guide for future studies. This lexicon will provide an important tool for the coffee industry to conduct sensory evaluation to improve the understanding of coffee quality. It is a living lexicon that can be added to when samples exhibit notes that were not present in the samples used for this lexicon development.

published proceedings

  • Journal of Sensory Studies

altmetric score

  • 152.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Chambers, E., Sanchez, K., Phan, U., Miller, R., Civille, G. V., & Di Donfrancesco, B.

citation count

  • 73

complete list of authors

  • Chambers, Edgar||Sanchez, Karolina||Phan, Uyen XT||Miller, Rhonda||Civille, Gail V||Di Donfrancesco, Brizio

publication date

  • December 2016