Coffee Guide: What Is Body? & How Do I Brew & Roast for It?

Body: what actually is it? It’s something we coffee-lovers like to talk about a lot, and it’s even included on cupping forms. But do we know what body really is? Why some coffees have more body than others? And how we can roast or brew to accentuate this quality?

If you answered no to any of those questions, don’t worry – I’m about to answer them for you.

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What Is Body?

Let’s start with the basics: body is a coffee’s texture. In The Professional Barista’s Handbook, Scott Rao defines it as “a beverage’s weight or fullness perceived in the mouth.”

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While body is an element of mouthfeel, it’s worth noting that there can be differences. In The Coffee Dictionary, Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood writes, “It is interesting to consider that you could experience a light body with a sticky mouth feel or a big body with a juicy mouth feel.”

Body is not something we taste: rather, it is a sensation we feel. However, it can influence a coffee’s overall flavor. This is because flavor is a combination of many factors – taste, aroma, texture, sound, and maybe even sight.

And in my experience as a barista, body is one of the three things coffee-drinkers are always looking for (along with bright acidity and defined flavors).

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