Label Guide: How to Choose The Right Coffee For You
Purchasing coffee can be tricky, especially with so much information on the label. Some companies like to pack a lot of information and pictures on their coffee labels in the hopes it will sell better. But with all that information, how are you supposed to know which one you’ll like?
Many companies try to make their labels appealing by adding more information, more pictures, and more colors. Studies show that consumers are more likely to buy a product if it is visually appealing. Companies who use such tactics will argue that their fancy label contributes to building a trustworthy brand identity, but their real intentions are clear—they want to influence your buying decision.
At Child Life Coffee, our intentions aren’t to trick you into buying our coffee. We keep the information and design to a minimum, providing only the information you need to make the right coffee decision. We designed our no-frills labels because we believe great coffee will sell itself. Here, we will walk you through our label and discuss the key aspects you should be aware of when making your decision:
- The Name of the Coffee. Many companies will try to get creative with their coffee names, often trying to create a false identity. But for them, it’s just another sales tactic. Our labels are simple and clear. We provide the name of the coffee you are getting. In the example above, the name “Cameroon Boyo” is the actual name for the coffee grown in Cameroon, Africa. This way, you know exactly what is in the bag.
The Body and Roast. The coffee “body” is something we coffee lovers like to talk about. It is a qualitative aspect of the coffee that best describes the coffee’s texture. To be clear, it is not something you taste; rather, it is a sensation you feel. In The Professional Barista’s Handbook, Scott Rao defines it as “a beverage’s weight or fullness perceived in the mouth”. A coffee’s body is actually an extraordinarily complex aspect to describe. But learning the basics can help you choose the right coffee. A coffee is generally described as having a light, medium, or full body.
- Full-Bodied is typically defined as strong and smooth, with a viscous mouthfeel that is pleasant, round, and creamy due to the natural oils and sugars in the coffee.
- Medium-Bodied refers to a balanced set of sensations. Although this coffee would seem diluted to expresso lovers, many consumers find this to be just right. A drip-coffee lover would prefer this over an espresso lover.
- Light-Bodied is defined as soft and free of excessive or inadequate tastes. There is a lower concentration of natural oils, which makes this coffee less viscous. Some would say this style has less flavor, but like all things coffee, it’s an entirely personal decision.
On the other hand, the coffee “roast” refers to the process of heating the coffee cherry seed to augment its flavor and aroma. Roasting coffee transforms the physical and chemical properties of the bean to produce distinct flavor characteristics. There is a world of difference between roasts, so the perfect roast is a matter of personal choice.
- Light Roasts are light brown in color. These beans are less oily and, contrary to popular belief, actually have the highest concentration of caffeine. They are generally mild in taste and more acidic.
- Medium Roasts are medium brown in color. This is the most common roast profile. The beans provide a stronger flavor and are also non-oily because they are not roasted long enough for the oils to break through the surface. They are slightly sweeter than light roasts and offer balanced flavor, aroma, and acidity.
- Dark Roasts are dark and rich in color. They are almost black with a shiny surface due to the oils that are expressed during the long roast. These beans are less acidic and contain a lower concentration of caffeine. These roasts are commonly used for expressos.
- The Origin of the Coffee. This part of the label describes where our coffee comes from. Every region offers a distinct flavor profile. Consumers often find they prefer one region over another. If you’re new, we recommend starting with coffees from our Americas & Caribbean Coffee collection. These regions are known for their balance – not too bitter, not too acidic, and fairly smooth. Africa offers a stunning variety of coffee flavors with a distinct combination of chocolate, citrus, and berries. Indonesian coffee beans are considered to be some of the best in the world, offering profiles that are full-bodied with earthy characteristics. Not sure what to choose? Try subscribing to our rotating blend, and enjoy a variety of select coffees to help you learn how different regions taste.
- The Coffee Tasting Notes. We are often asked about the tasting notes on our 12 oz. bags of single origin coffee. When you see “Berry” and “Dark Chocolate” or “Caramel” and “Toffee” on our label, there is sometimes a misconception that we’ve added flavoring to our coffee beans. The truth is, our single origin coffees are not flavored at all. The Tasting Notes, sometimes also called Flavor Notes, are natural characteristics inherent to the coffee. Much like a fine wine or expensive cigar, coffee can have many different inherent flavors. Roasted Arabica coffee consists of thousands of distinct chemical compounds that result in many different flavors. So when you’re tasting notes of “Dark Cocoa” in our coffee, you’re tasting very similar compounds that are in actual cocoa. The same goes for our “Fruity” and “Nutty” coffees. Our label lets you easily see how our coffee will taste, enabling you to make the right decision for your unique flavor preference.
That’s it! No distracting imagery, no wasting thousands of dollars on graphic design and fancy packaging, no frills. While the delightful flavors and characteristics of our coffee remain complex, your decision doesn’t have to be. Our label shows you exactly what you need to know so you can make an informed decision to buy coffee. As with most things, tasting takes practice. Let us help you find your new favorite coffee!