Worth a Thousand Words

By: Susan Heller Evenson

Mar 3, 2016

SCAA’s recent revamp of its flavor wheel has created lots of buzz in the specialty-coffee industry (click here for information on how to use the new flavor wheel). The news was bound to create ripples since the 2016 version is the first and only revamp of its original 1995 flavor wheel, one of the most iconic images in specialty coffee and a tool used by industry professionals around the world. The new flavor wheel was a result of much research and collaboration among various companies and coffee professionals, but one of the most obvious changes is in its appearance. While still in the form of a wheel, it has a different color palette, some different coffee descriptors, clean lines, and varied textures. And it’s these visual differences that gave me pause, made me slow down enough to ask, “How is this wheel different than its predecessor aside from the color scheme?” Sometimes when information or tools are presented in a different way, they shed new light on a concept, bit of information, or process.

In this way, I thought it would be interesting to show Atlas’ main coffee descriptors (taken from our spot offer list in Seattle in December 2015) and present them in a different format. Turns out that we have a lot of coffee with notes of sweetness, citrus, brown sugar, cocoa, and chocolate, but only one coffee with—if you’re looking for it—dried lemon peel, or strawberry candy. The two images below are just snapshots of our Seattle offer list presented in a different, and hopefully refreshing, way. Same information, but turned on its head and given a bit of color.

Data Viz Cupping TermsData Viz bubbles cupping terms