What is the body of coffee and what does it contribute to the drink?

Those who love coffee know very well that this beverage is not just for taking a break and relaxing but is a real sensory ritual that involves the senses of taste, smell, and even sight, despite what you might think.

A good coffee can be distinguished and appreciated from the first sip. When it touches the edges of the tongue, its acidity levels can already be perceived. Still, the real pleasure extends throughout the oral cavity, where the taste buds recognize and appreciate the harmony between sweetness and bitterness.

The intense and captivating aroma of coffee and the silky texture of its cream are an invitation to immerse oneself in this ritual which, for coffee lovers, is a true pleasure for the senses.

What is meant by a coffee’s body?

Quality coffee is distinguished from other coffees first and foremost by its aroma and the intensity it leaves in the mouth, a sensation that is even more pleasant if it lasts for a long time, but also by its roundness and, above all, by its body.

But what do we really mean when we talk about the “body” of coffee?

The body of coffee refers to the tactile sensations that the mouth is able to perceive when tasting it, its physical properties, and its consistency, i.e., the amount of solid matter that the beverage is capable of releasing and the level of concentration of its oils and natural sugars.

Moreover, the body of the coffee can already be perceived before tasting it, when, thanks to the sense of smell, it is possible to inhale its full aroma. If, after tasting it and drinking it to the end, the taste of the coffee remains in the mouth for a long time, it means that it is a coffee with an excellent body.

On the contrary, poor-quality coffee will leave a sour taste on the tongue due to the tannins present in it.

The tactile sensations left by the body of the coffee referred to above are those perceived by the mouth, especially when the tongue pushes it against the palate to perceive all the physical properties, such as wateriness, granularity, or consistency.

What does the body of coffee depend on?

Each coffee is characterized by its specific body, which depends both on the method of extraction and the degree of roasting and on the type of coffee used in the preparation of the blend.

Part of the coffee’s body also depends on its origin and, where it was grown, the quality of the beans used. Higher altitudes guarantee a greater presence of oils, body, balance, and density in the coffee compared to species grown at lower altitudes.

➡️ The extraction method matters

To fully appreciate a good coffee, knowing the best way to prepare it is essential. In this way, you can experience all the tactile and taste sensations that its body offers without running the risk of spoiling its flavor and consistency.

The best way to enjoy the body of a coffee is to prepare it using an espresso machine, although Italian coffee machines also do a good job.

On the other hand, coffee machines equipped with a paper filter are not recommended for those who want the body in their coffee because they have the disadvantage of filtering out the oils that give the coffee its body.

How to distinguish and recognize the body of coffee?

Recognizing the body of coffee does not necessarily require you to be an expert. Much depends on personal taste, and once you have learned to identify the characteristics that are most pleasing to the palate, distinguishing the differences in graininess and oiliness will be easy.

  • Full-bodied coffees give the palate a sensation of strength, creaminess, and roundness produced by the rich presence of the coffee’s own oils.
  • Medium-bodied coffees may seem watery or overly filtered to the palate of a true espresso lover.

How to get more body in your coffee and enjoy it to the fullest

Modern espresso machines, if accompanied by grinders on demand, which grind the coffee beans for each preparation, thanks to the high pressure used for extraction, manage to preserve a high concentration of all the aromas in the bean.

➡️ Therefore, the combination of a good espresso machine and an on-demand grinder is perfect for those who love to smell and savor all the fragrance and intoxicating sensations that the aroma of coffee can provide.

At the same time, this combination makes for a perfect product to be used in other coffee-based preparations, such as cakes, cappuccinos, or lattes.

Don’t forget to stir your espresso before drinking it!

If you decide to prepare a full-bodied coffee with an espresso machine, remember to stir it before drinking it because layers form in the cup that collects most of the coffee’s best substances at the bottom.

At the bottom of the cup is where you find the most body and most of the acidity, while as you go up in the cup, the bitterness and, finally, the smoothness are perceived. This is why it is essential not to drink the coffee immediately after pouring it into the cup but to stir it slowly with a spoon to mix better the oils, flavors, smells, and acidity.

In this way, you will be sure to drink a full-bodied, well-blended coffee from the first sip and not be characterized by different taste sensations with each sip.

However, it can also happen that an espresso coffee lacks body and aroma. If this happens, it is likely that the coffee used is old or has been stored incorrectly – e.g., at high temperatures or in unsuitable containers such as plastic – but it could also depend to a large extent on the use of water lacking in mineral salts or with an insufficient quantity for a good coffee.

Written by Pablo Barrantes Nevado
I am Pablo Barrantes, a coffee lover. I decided to start this website to solve all the doubts that arise every day when preparing our favorite drink: coffee. I am an industrial engineer by profession, but I have worked in coffee shops for many years, where I have learned all the secrets about coffee machines and coffee. My passion for coffee has led me to investigate and study beyond the obvious, and thanks to this, I can offer solutions and give news about coffee and coffee makers. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I research, document and write here.

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