Taste, gustatory perception, or gustation is one of the five traditional senses. Taste is the sensation produced when a substance in the mouth reacts chemically with receptors of taste buds. Taste, along with smell and trigeminal nerve stimulation (which also handles touch for texture, also pain, and temperature), determines flavors, the sensory impressions of food or other substances.

In specialty coffee, taste and flavor of coffee are very important. The whole coffee bean production and preparation chain focuses on preserving and revealing the original tastes and qualities of the beans.

Coffees grown in different countries and regions will have different tastes. For example, coffee prepared with coffee beans grown in South America will typically have a fuller, darker, chocolaty, nutty and sometimes caramel type taste and flavor profile in the cup. Coffee grown in Africa, on the other hand, will typically have a more bright, acidic and fruity taste.

Many factors influence the taste of a coffee. These consist of the soil ph, the intensity of sunlight and other weather conditions, the altitude of the region etc.

Different brewing methods will also influence taste. Coffee brewed as espresso or French press will typically yield darker and fuller taste profiles and filter coffee will typically yield a brighter and cleaner taste profile.

The five main taste sensations are salty, sweet, sour, bitter and umami. Umami is the sensation we experience when the other tastes are all balanced in a food or drink. We experience saltiness and sweetness at the front of the tongue and mouth, sour tastes to the side of the tongue and bitterness at the back of the tongue. Unami is experienced in the middle of the tongue as a combination of all the other tastes.