What Is Coffee Body (or Mouthfeel) And Why Should I Care?

Discover Depth in Your Coffee Cup

Conscious Cup coffee roasters on javaya body coffeeBody (also called "heaviness" or "mouthfeel") is how you describe a coffee's "dissolved solids" (acids, oils, proteins and fibers) in the brewed liquid as it settles on your tongue.

Body is mainly affected by three things:

  1. Brewing Method: Stove-top coffee makers, espresso machines, anything with a mesh/metal filter and french presses impart more full-bodied feel. Low-quality paper filters keep out many oils that can contribute to body and also flavor.
  2. Origin: Higher altitude and density coffee beans typically have fuller bodies as well
  3. Roast: To some extent, a darker roast can remove some of the full-bodiedness of a similar coffee bean roasted light (Side note: It is a common myth that "dark roast" coffees have fuller bodies and more caffeine, but it's actually the opposite)

How does a coffee get its body?

In general, coffees grown at higher altitudes tend to have heavier bodies. Coffees grown at lower altitudes, not as much. Since high-altitude coffees tend to have more desirable characteristics overall, you can see why body can often be equated with great coffees -- but that's not always true. You can definitely find heavy-bodied coffees that disappoint the palate, and light-bodied coffees that delight it.

To discern body, you should swoosh the coffee around in your mouth and back of your tongue and attempt to detect its "heft" or "richness" as you swallow it.

What should I choose?

A coffee's body is entirely personal preference. While a typical coffee pro will favor a richer, heavier mouthfeel, many find the "grit" or "oilyness" of coffee off-putting and actually prefer a filtered, smooth taste. You can also drink a whole pot of light-bodied coffee in one sitting without getting worn out from its richness!

We suggest picking something you think you'll like on the Javaya marketplace, trying it and comparing to the body notes that the roaster stated. Lather, Rinse, Repeat until you find what you love!