“Body” (or “mouthfeel”) is a word that’s important in describing coffee, though less obvious in its usefulness than “flavor” or “taste.” But think about your favorite foods and why you love them.
Consider the best and worst versions of each dish: perfect French fries, crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside. Compare those with soggy fries that spent way too long in the delivery bag. Or compare a juicy steak with one that’s overcooked and tough.
None of these words convey flavor, they describe how food feels. In coffee, texture (AKA body) is also quite important. And while how you brew the coffee will affect body as well, these four coffees start out with particularly great textures all on their own.
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Sumatra is one of the coffee growing origins we most identify with big-bodied coffees. Because of the varieties and processing methods used there, Sumatran beans often brew a thicker cup than those from other origins. Atomic’s Aceh Ketiara is a great example, and that big body pairs well with its notes of dark chocolate and earth.
Atomic Sumatra Aceh Ketiara ($17.65)
Not all dark roasts have big bodies, but all things being equal you are more likely to get a thicker cup from a dark roast than a light one. Red Rooster’s French Roast is cinnamony sweet and has an almost sticky texture that’s really pleasant to drink.
Red Rooster 4&20 French Roast ($16.50)
We tend to think of natural process coffees as being sweet and fruity before anything, but that processing method also tends to create more body than a given coffee would have if it was washed. This grape-tasting Salvadoran coffee is a perfect example of how big-bodied, fruity, and bright can go together really well.
Just because a coffee’s body isn’t big, doesn’t mean it isn’t really nice. This washed Ethiopian coffee from Madcap, for example, has a light body. But the softness of that body isn’t a drawback; it makes the coffee extremely pleasant to drink and pairs well with its gentle floral and citrus notes.
Madcap Ethiopia Reko ($21.20)