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FlavorActiV FAQ

Answers to common questions
Who is FlavorActiV?

FlavorActiV is a UK-based company that has worked with the traditional beer, soda, and water industries to establish flavor standards and calibrate sensory panels for over 20 years.  The Coffee Flavor Library was developed in collaboration with Coffee Enterprises and Square Mile Coffee;  these Flavor Standards are the first training tool that allows you to safely learn the taste and not just the aroma.

What are Flavor Standards?

Stable and precise flavors (aroma and taste) that are accurate in character and intensity are used for flavor training and calibration.  Each flavor standard will smell and taste the same every time.

What does Pharmaceutical GMP mean?

Production adheres to strict Good Manufacturing Process (GMP) pharmaceutical quality controls. FlavorActiV’s dedicated GMP Flavour Centre is certified and regulated by the UK Government’s Medicine Regulatory & Healthcare Product Agency (MHRA) to a standard which far exceed ISO 9001, ISO 17025 or any food grade certification.

Why Powder?

Powder is more stable and easier to transport than liquid.

Are these for tasting or smelling or both?

Both, the flavor standards are designed for aroma and taste.

How are they mixed?

Each capsule is designed to be dissolved in liquid to replicate flavors that occur in coffee. The super-fine powder will quickly and easily dissolve.

Can I mix with coffee or just water?

We suggest starting with room temperature water for beginners and intermediate training. The intrinsic quality and intensity of the coffee may accentuate or overpower the FlavorActiV standard’s flavors for initial training. Advanced training may use hot coffee as the liquid base for FlavorActiV flavor standard training.

What kind of water should I use?

We suggest using water at specialty coffee industry standards, however, FlavorActiV standards will work with the water that you use in your business.

Can I adjust the intensity?

Yes, increase the water for less flavor intensity and decrease the water for greater flavor intensity. We suggest:

  • Beginner Training: 1 capsule to 500 mL (17 fluid ounces) of room temperature water
  • Intermediate Training: 1 capsule to 1 L (35 fluid ounces) of room temperature water
  • Advanced Training: capsule to 300 mL (10 fluid ounce) of hot coffee

Flavor intensity may be adjusted stronger (less liquid) or milder (more liquid) as needed.

How many capsules in each kit?

There are 5 capsules in each kit.

How do I use the capsules?

Calibration Training

Step #1 – Initial flavor identification  (flavor coaching with open book)

  • The trainer/chief cupper shall present the line-up of diluted flavor standards to the students/cuppers using the beginner dilution ratio.
  • Each flavor standard shall be presented, tasted and discussed.
  • Students/cuppers should taste the flavor standards multiple times to gain familiarity and knowledge of the aromas and tastes.
  • Final discussion shall utilize the World Coffee Research Coffee Lexicon and Specialty Coffee Association’s Coffee taster flavor wheel to reinforce the flavor attribute and their relationship with other flavors.

Step #2 – Formative assessment (blind samples assessment)

  • The trainer/chief cupper shall prepare the samples and arrange the flavor standards in a different order and remove the identification labels before the students/cuppers enter the room.
  • Students/cuppers shall smell and taste each sample with the goal of correctly identifying each flavor standard.
  • After recording each flavor identification, the group will discuss the aromas and tastes and compare identification answers.

Repeat Step #1 to increase familiarity & Step #2 to confirm sensory recognition.

Sniffing & Tasting

Sniffing: ortho-nasal detection

Initial Aroma – Cover the cup containing the diluted flavor standard with your hand and swirl gently to release the aromatic compounds for 2-5 seconds.  Uncover the cup and place the cup close to your nose. Take 2-3 short sniffs of 1 second each and move the cup away from your nose.  Record your aroma perceptions.

Follow-up Aroma – Again, cover the cup and swirl for 5-10 seconds to concentrate the aromas in the headspace, then uncover and take a longer sniff of 2-3 seconds. Record your aroma perceptions.


Tasting: retro-nasal detection

With a cupping spoon, slurp the liquid into your mouth or slurp the liquid directly from the cup.  Swirl the liquid around to activate all taste receptors, swallow, then breathe through the nose and mouth, allowing the aromas and tastes to be perceived together.  Record your results.

How many students can train on each capsule?

Each capsule will prepare 1 liter of flavored water.  With 3 oz samples per student, each capsule will train about 10 students.

What is the shelf-life of the capsules?

The shelf life is 24 months, with a clear “use by” date indicated on the package.

What is the shelf-life of the mixed liquid?

Best Practices – Once mixed with liquid he flavor standards should be tasted within 2 hours. Once mixed with liquid the flavor standards may be stored in a sealed container to prevent contamination, in a refrigerator ≤ 40° F / 4.5° C to limit oxidation, for up to 48 hours before tasting.