There's lots of information available about the influence of various parameters on coffee taste, but it's scattered across the internet. On top of that, most answers and articles are packed with paragraphs of text and data to support the writers claims and findings. That's wonderful, but it makes it very time consuming to dig through them.

It'd be nice to have a clean composition and presentation of a selection of the most important parameters that define coffee taste. You know, with fancy graphs about coffee developing a bitter or sour taste over time or temperature, different extracting methods, or qualitative relationships. If there's no such thing available, we could compose it ourselves.

I've found a few of those here and here already, one even with a fancy graph.(though without axis units) To narrow down my search a bit, i'm looking for parameters that affect the coffee in the post-roasting stadium, as I won't do the growing or roasting myself. I'm using arabica.

I'm thinking of the following parameters:

  • Storage temperature
  • Methods of grinding
  • Grain size when grounded
  • Time between grinding/brewing
  • Water temperature at brewing
  • Type of water used for extraction(mineral/tap/decalcified)
  • Methods of extraction
  • Filter material/size etc.
  • Contact time of coffee with the water
  • Time between brewing/consuming
  • Coffee temperature at consuming

And how they affect:

  • Caffeine content
  • Bitterness, acidity/sourness, saltiness, and sweetness
  • Aftertaste
  • Heaviness of the feel in your mouth

2 Answers 2


in the post roasting scenario here is a succinct article:


As your taste is unique experimentation will be required. I roast and brew ... it took me months to get to my formula. I will also mention the quality of water. I have settled on a balanced H20 'smart water'.

  • Could you copy and paste the relevant information. Link rot and all that.
    – Mayo
    Jan 23, 2018 at 23:02
  • coarseness of the grind temperature of the extraction extraction time the all-important coffee-to-water ratio
    – lbf
    Jan 23, 2018 at 23:07
  • +1 Excellent article! It's compact and yet contains the most important info. The articles linked to in the article are also of great value, where they explain coffee/water ratio isn't constant over the amount of cups. I agree with you that taste isn't really objective and definable, but still, basic flavours like bitterness can be judged in their development over time/temperature or so.
    – Bart
    Jan 24, 2018 at 9:52

It's a broad subject, but yes, accurate information can be found from authoritative sources.

There are any number of well-written books on coffee preparation. One scholarly book widely regarded as ground breaking & authoritative is Espresso coffee: The science of quality by Andrea Illy.

There are many factors that affect coffee quality but it is common to hear about the "4 M's" - referring to the first letter of the four most important criteria in Italian where modern coffee develped. These primary criteria are:

And a variety of lesser factors that nonetheless are important for coffee quality. For instance water that has modest mineral content i.e. 100 - 200 ppm will produce superior tasting coffee. There are several enthusiast websites that thoroughly address your questions, although it is difficult to do in a concise manner.

  1. the blend (the type, quality and roast of the coffee beans)
  2. the grind quality (widely viewed as the most crucial factor controllable by the end user),
  3. and the knowledge and skill of the person preparing the espresso or coffee.
  4. the application of the coffee.



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