New FlavorActiV flavor standards for coffee enable a new global language of coffee flavour

New FlavorActiV flavor standards for coffee enable a new global language of coffee flavour



Coffee is grown and consumed across hundreds of countries, which together represent an enormous amalgam of unique cultures, cuisines, and languages. The challenge of helping individuals working across that broad landscape of diversity—in roles as different as coffee farming, processing, exporting/milling, importing, roasting, and drinking—to understand one another is enormous. But it’s also essential to the smooth functioning of the supply chain.

In beer, wine, soda, and other beverages, there are global standards for the component flavours of each beverage —a way for everyone to “speak” the same language of flavour by using the same point of reference. For coffee aromas, many coffee industry experts are familiar with the scent based products. But you can’t drink these references, only smell them. Professional coffee tasters have never before had taste references—until now. The 24 World Coffee Research approved FlavorActiV standards for coffee are a Rosetta Stone for coffee flavours, a tool that allows a taster in one part of the world to taste exactly the same thing as another.

“We always knew the WCR Sensory Lexicon could never truly be a global tool as long as the majority of references could only be bought in a US grocery store,” says World Coffee Research CEO Tim Schilling. “But there wasn’t anything better out there. FlavorActiV has changed the math. Their flavour capsules are relevant, accurate, and globally available—just as easy if you’re in Lima as in Limerick as in Lincoln, Nebraska. FlavorActiV saw that coffee had a need, and they invested in the R&D to create something completely new. We embrace the same spirit of solving problems through innovation. We’re very excited about what they’ve done.”

The GMP pharmaceutical grade flavour capsules for coffee were co-developed by FlavorActiV and Coffee Enterprises with assistance from Square Mile Coffee roasters. “We are extremely delighted to be partnered with WCR on this unique coffee flavour standards project. Tens of thousands of professional beverage quality assessors around the world have benefited from using our sensory panel calibration tools. We are pleased that we are now in the position to supporting the coffee industry with the same GMP quality flavour standards,” says Marie Pohler, Head of Coffee Sensory at FlavorActiV. Each of the 24 flavours was then evaluated by the same researchers behind the World Coffee Research Sensory Lexicon to ensure a match.

World Coffee release coffee lexicon 2.0, adding new FlavorActiV references

FlavorActiV coffee flavour standards were evaluated by World Coffee Research to determine if they are appropriate and accurate representations of flavours contained within the lexicon. Once validated they were put forward for inclusion within coffee lexicon 2.0.

For the second edition of the lexicon, twenty four of the attributes have been updated to include FlavorActiV references: Sour, Bitter, Salty, Apple, Grape, Coconut, Pineapple, Acetic acid, Butyric acid, Isovaleric acid, Fermented, Peapod, Fresh, Papery, Musty/Earthy, Musty/Dusty, Moldy/Damp, Phenolic, Petroleum, Brown Spice, Almond, Vanillin, Floral, and Jasmine.

The new FlavorActiV references, which have been added in a newly released second edition of the lexicon—Lexicon 2.0—are GMP pharmaceutical grade, shelf-stable, food-safe, and globally available. As such, they will substantially expand the global applicability of the lexicon. (Most of the flavour references in the first edition of the lexicon are “physical” references—i.e., items you’d buy at a grocery store. However, they are only widely available in mass market grocery store chains in the United States—for example, Lorna Doone brand cookies or Green Giant brand cut green beans.)

The WCR Sensory Lexicon is a living document that will continue to be updated with new flavours and aromas, as well as new references for those flavours/aromas, as they are identified. “Our flavour development program is as much a living project as the coffee lexicon itself and we will continue our effort and investment to bringing more GMP flavour references to the ever growing world of coffee,” says Pohler.

 Dowload the WCR coffee lexicon 2.0. | View FlavorActiV’s dedicated coffee website

For more coffee information please email For press contacts please email

An Introduction to Wine Faults Tasting – Fully Booked

We are pleased to announce the latest of our advertised open courses; ‘An Introduction to Wine Faults Tasting’ with Marcia Waters MW and WSET, is now fully booked

The evening on May 9th seeks to enhance sensory skills with a unique session offering attendees the chance to experience some well-known wine faults and taints in wine.

Unravelling wine jargon including  “corked”, “bretty” and ” volatile” to gain confidence in tasting, the session introduces some wine making basics but mostly concentrates on sensory skills.

Marcia Waters MW uses flavour standards from FlavorActiV to deliberately dose wines and show specific aromas and tastes. This technology allows the opportunity to gain objective and professional tasting skills.

Essential for professionals and wine judges.

Fascinating for all wine lovers.

We wish all those attending a fantastic evening!

Intensive Spirits Sensory Workshop

Intensive Spirits Sensory Workshop

FlavorActiV Sensory Trainers – Binod Maitin and Evelyne Canteranne will be facilitating the Intensive Spirits Sensory Workshop at Worldwide Distilled Spirits Conference (WDSC) in the Hilton Glasgow, on Monday the 29th May 2017.

The workshop will include basic spirit sensory training, common flavours in distilled spirits, developing best sensory practices and gaining hands on sensory skills.

More information can be found via our downloadable leaflet – Intensive Spirits Workshop. The workshop is limited to 15 participants and costs GBP 395 (or GBP 295 if attending WDSC).

You will be able to book and pay online or email us directy via:

Fifth Sense & FlavorActiV enter second phase of their pioneering study for people affected by olfactory loss.

Fifth Sense & FlavorActiV enter second phase of their pioneering study for people affected by olfactory loss.

In early 2016 Fifth Sense, the charity for people affected by smell and taste disorders, and FlavorActiV, the global leaders in sensory systems for the beverage industry launched a pioneering pilot study to test the sensory abilities of people affected by olfactory loss with the aim of discovering if, with regular tasting of basic tastes (salt, sweet, sour, bitter) at varying concentrations, detection levels might improve.

Conditions are controlled by use of FlavorActiv’s pharmaceutical grade GMP Flavour Standard capsules provided as blind samples to 25 volunteer Fifth Sense members. The pilot group were tasked with identifying which flavour they believed to be present in the sample before results were entered into FlavorActiV’s Taster Validation Scheme for analysis by in-house sensory experts.

With the launch of the second pilot scheme in 2017, FlavorActiV and Fifth Sense seek to build upon discoveries of the previous study, increasing the participant base to over 40 Fifth Sense members who will undergo testing via a rank rating scheme in which each round uses a different GMP Flavour Standard with varying concentrations for the participant to rate in strength from strongest to weakest. Where the initial pilot focused on specific flavour recognition, the second, it is hoped, will show participants can to some degree differentiate between strengths, regardless of their degree of olfactory impairment.

The wealth of data discovered in both first and second stages of the study are analysed using FlavorActiV’s own proprietary proficiency software, which regularly assesses thousands of professional tasters globally and informs taster abilities and flavour trends, inclusive of 9 out of 10 of the world’s largest beverage companies. With an estimated 1 in 20 people suffering from some level of smell or taste disorder, the impact on the beverage industry is significant – not least because some of their own tasters may be anosmic to certain flavours.

It is hoped that findings from both stages of the pilot will support and inform Fifth Sense’s own research activity and work towards the eventual creation of a smell and taste loss scale to accurately determine levels of sensory loss, to begin improving people’s experience of eating and confidence in the future.
For more information and to donate to the work of charity Fifth Sense please visit
For more information on sensory systems and FlavorActiV please visit

FlavorActiV and Fifth Sense launch pioneering taste loss study

FlavorActiV and Fifth Sense launch pioneering taste loss study

FlavorActiV and Fifth Sense have begun a pioneering study to test the abilities of taste and smell disorder sufferers in detecting the basic tastes (salt, sweet, sour, bitter, umami) in varying concentrations, and to determine if regular tasting can improve detection levels.

The volunteers, most of whom are Fifth Sense members but including people from the Netherlands and Australia, will be given four rounds of blind samples and asked to identify which flavour is present. The results will be fed into FlavorActiV’s Taster Validation Scheme, where they will be analysed after each round by in-house sensory experts, who will then advise each participant to alter the concentration levels accordingly. It is hoped that volunteers will have improved, or categorically ruled out, their ability to detect the tastes as a result of this study.

The findings will aid the development of a take home Taste Kit for self-diagnosis and training, and a Taste Loss Scale to accurately determine level of taste loss. This will provide members with essential information to understand their own limitations and possibly discover previously unknown tasting abilities, an important step in developing skills and confidence.

In addition, FlavorActiV is exploring ways to utilise the wealth of data in its Taster Validation Scheme, which assess tens of thousands of professional tasters globally, to learn flavour trends and taster abilities globally. This information will be used to support and inform Fifth Sense’s own research activities.

An estimated 1 in 20 people suffer from some a smell or taste disorder and the ramifications for the people involved, and the global beverage industry as a whole, are significant – not least because some of their own tasters may be anosmic to certain flavours.

The findings from this study will be released in the Summer of 2016. Please contact Liam Singleton for more details.

Notes for Editors

  • More details of the FlavorActiV-Fifth Sense partnership can be found here:
  • FlavorActiV works with 9 out of 10 of the world’s largest beverage companies, delivering training in more than 20 languages.
  • FlavorActiV currently supports more than 40,000 sensory participants worldwide through its unique Taster Validation Scheme.
  • FlavorActiV specializes in taster trainer management, and is working across the beer, wine, soft drinks, spirits, coffee, olive oil, water, juices, dairy and cocoa sectors. Currently there are 125 flavours and products across the portfolio, and this is expanding all the time.

The Calibrating Coffee Sensory Plan: A new approach to coffee quality management

The Calibrating Coffee Sensory Plan: A new approach to coffee quality management

FlavorActiV Ltd, Coffee Enterprises and Square Mile Coffee partner to launch innovative sensory calibration program to raise global standards for coffee professionals

FlavorActiV Ltd., a global leader of beverage sensory and quality management solutions, and Coffee Enterprises, a distinguished coffee industry consulting and education consortium, have partnered to develop an innovative coffee sensory calibration program to address the challenges with inconsistent sensory evaluation and quality control testing for coffee. Top UK roaster Square Mile Coffee has also partnered with and contributed to the development of the program that has been designed to support coffee professionals around the world.

“FlavorActiV has developed industry leading technology and a strong history of success in training sensory professionals for quality control,” states Dan Cox, President of Coffee Enterprises. “With FlavorActiV’s wealth of experience with other arenas of beverages, the development of the coffee sensory calibration tools will be essential for roasters, traders, baristas, and producers around the world for improved quality control and education, not only for the premium and specialty coffee markets, but for all levels of coffee quality.”

When coffee sensory staffs are trained around the world, there is a huge variation across the industry. At each stage of the farm-to-cup process there are different values, practices and terminology associated with tasting and quality checking, and limited on-site training and comprehensive analysis. Dr. Javier Gómez López, Head of Coffee Sensory at FlavorActiV, said; “For quality control and sensory professionals, being able to correctly detect, identify and name faults without the inconvenience of waiting for faulty coffee to appear reduces the risk of undesirable (and brand-damaging) coffee reaching the consumer.”

The Calibrating Coffee Sensory Plan will officially launch at the November 2015 Café Show in Korea through a number of business seminars, presented on behalf of the trilateral partnership by Square Mile Coffee’s Head Roaster and UK Brewers Cup Champion, Sang Ho Park.

The comprehensive program consists of three components which will be made available in early 2016 as individual or bundled products:

  • Taster Training: On-site technical sensory panel training to improve sensory analysis and increase brand quality through sensory science protocols and industry best practices, conducted by Global Sensory Managers and coffee industry professionals.
  • Coffee Defect Taste Kits: Pharmaceutical quality GMP capsules of powdered-flavor standards, held in blister packaging, used to spike coffee for taste identification. Developed in collaboration between FlavorActiV, Coffee Enterprises and Square Mile Coffee Roasters.
  • Taster Calibration: Self-directed online validation series using anonymous coffee defect kits and powerful analytical software to test proficiencies. Blind samples are sent to test individual and panel tasting abilities and thereby direct future training in the most cost/time efficient manner.

All partners will be introducing the technical taste panel training and management products at coffee industry events throughout 2016. Developed with coffee professionals in mind, the Calibrating Coffee Sensory Plan is an innovative new approach to coffee quality management.

For more information, contact our Head of Coffee Sensory, Dr Javier Gomez Lopez, or visit


About Coffee Enterprises: Coffee Enterprises is a professional coffee consulting group located in Burlington, Vermont who have decades of manufacturing, quality control, sourcing, product development, and marketing experience. Coffee Enterprises has the expertise to enhance the quality of your coffee products, services, and programs to improve the overall strength of your coffee business. For more information about Coffee Enterprises, please visit

About Square Mile Coffee: Square Mile Coffee Roasters is a multi-award winning coffee roasting company based in London. We are currently focused on wholesaling our coffee and to supply and support businesses that wish to serve the best coffee they can. We want to make London famous for good coffee. We’re working to build a London coffee culture and do our best to contribute to the global scene. For more information about Square Mile Coffee, please visit

Join FlavorActiV at BrauBeviale 2015

Join FlavorActiV at BrauBeviale 2015

Sensory specialistsFlavorActiV will be attending and exhibiting at BrauBeviale 2015. As one of the leading industry events, Brau attracts leading figures and companies from the global beverage community, many of whom are FlavorActiV friends and partners.

FlavorActiV will be sharing a platform with German partner HW Brauereiservice. Throughout the 3-day event, FlavorActiV will deliver a number of demonstration tasting sessions and showcase their advanced sensory training and tools, as well as an ever-expanding portfolio of sensory products and new GMP Flavour Standards.

CEO Richard Boughton and Global Sensory Manager drs Ronald Nixdorf will be in attendance, meeting with old and new partners. To arrange a meeting, please find contact details below.

More than 37,000 trade visitors from 128 countries visited Brau in 2014. More information for visitors can be found here:

Meet the team

If you wish to meet at Brau, please contact

Event details

New GMP Flavour Standards

FlavorActiV has recently introduced several new flavours as part of it’s beer reference standard range – Astringent, Yeasty, Cooked Vegetable, Rotten Vegetable and Methional.

Astringent provides a tightening or puckering mouthfeel, representative of tannins and polyphenols imparted by hops and malts.

Yeasty imparts a general yeast flavour into beer.

Cooked Vegetable is a boiled cauliflower flavour and is produced by yeast during fermentation.

Rotten Vegetable imparts a boiled cabbage or rotten vegetable flavour, normally created during brewing from the heating of grains.

Methional provides a mashed or peeled potato flavour and is an oxidization product.

You can find more information on these flavour on our website or you can contact your Global Sensory Manager.

Our introduction of GMP Flavour Standards – the highest quality produced reference flavour standards available – has allowed us to expand our flavour range significantly and we will be introducing more flavours shortly.

– The FlavorActiV Team

Credit Card and PayPal Online Purchasing Options

Credit Card and PayPal Online Purchasing Options

We are pleased to announce that our website now includes credit, debit and PayPal account purchasing options on our on-line ordering page for purchasing GMP Flavour Standards.

We accept the following cards:

  • Visa / Electron
  • Mastercard / Eurocard
  • Maestro
  • Amercian Express
  • Visa or Mastercard Debit / Bank Cards

When paying by card please select the Credit Card or PayPal Express Checkout option, you’ll be taken to a secure payment area to finish payment.

You can purchase GMP Flavour Standards here.


FlavorActiV Tasting Success

FlavorActiV Tasting Success
Business booms for sensory specialists FlavorActiV

FlavorActiV, the leading global provider of sensory training and tools, has quadrupled its customer base over recent months and has moved to a new head office in Thame, Oxfordshire to accommodate its expanding workforce.

A total of 2,500 breweries and other beverage production sites globally are now using FlavorActiV’s products and services. Much of the increase in sales has come from the soft drinks industry, where FlavorActiV has started to deliver sensory training for some of the leading companies.

The boom in business is a vindication of the major investment programme undertaken by FlavorActiV in 2012. The company introduced new software for its Taster Validation Scheme, redeveloped its flavour standards with a new supply partner, Quay Pharma, and launched a sensory assessment service.

FlavorActiV managing director Richard Boughton said, “Our success is based on investment and innovation. At a time when many companies, particularly in the brewing industry, have been tightening their belts, we looked for ways to develop the service and products we offer our customers.

“It’s an approach that has paid huge dividends. We became the first in the industry to put flavour standards into blister packs, while our new taster validation software has been widely praised by customers for easing the sensory tasting process for them.”

FlavorActiV’s investment was rewarded quickly with interest from the leading soft drinks producers, which complements the work in the brewing industry on which the company was founded. Almost all major brewers globally use FlavorActiV’s sensory training or tools.

Boughton said, “The principles of sensory taste panels are as applicable to soft drinks as to beer and our aim at FlavorActiV is the same – to ensure our customers’ beverages reach the market tasting exactly as they should taste, time after time and wherever in the world they’re produced.

“However, we have adapted our service with, for example, a number of new flavour standards formulated specifically for our soft drinks programmes.” He added, “One of the benefits of changing our supply of flavour standards is that we now have our own dedicated flavour centre. This allows us to continuously develop new products as we identify a need for them.” In addition to the flavours for soft drinks, FlavorActiV has launched five new beer flavour standards this year – Methional, Cooked Veg, Rotten Veg, Yeasty and Astringent – and has many more in development for the beer, beverage and wine markets.

New GMP flavour standards

Since the move in supply, all FlavorActiV’s flavour standards have been produced to Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) pharmaceutical quality standards – a requirement demanded by an increasing number of brewers and beverage producers globally.

At the same time, flavour standards were moved into to blister packs, which offer a raft of benefits over the previous capsule and pot packaging formats, including greater ease of use, better product stability and reduced risk of contamination. Feedback from FlavorActiV customers has been universally positive.

David Burgess, Group Quality Director at Carlsberg Group, said, “We have been impressed with the quality that FlavorActiV’s GMP flavour standards are produced to and the ease of use of their blister packaging. In conjunction with this, the continuing improvements they have introduced to their Taster Validation System help Carlsberg to train and monitor its sensory panels professionally.”

FlavorActiV has also developed a handful of flavour standard kits targeted at the needs of the burgeoning craft brewing industry. The Craft Brewers’ Sensory Training Kit comes in three sizes to suit different brewing operations: the five-capsule pack is ideal for home brewers; the 10-capsule pack is aimed at enthusiast and smaller craft brewers; and the 20-capsule pack at larger operations. The 20-capsule kit is supplied with instructions on how to set up and manage a brewery tasting panel.

The new, purpose-built Thame office accommodates FlavorActiV’s Global Sensory Managers, marketing and logistics teams. Flavour standard production is based in Flintshire, where FlavorActiV has a sealed laboratory, production unit and laboratory quality control area with a team of dedicated technicians and an expert panel.

 The FlavorActiV team outside the  (l-r) Dale Smith – Supply Manager; Alexander Guzihev, Global Sensory Manager; Evelyne Canteranne, Global Sensory Manager; Javier Gomez-Lopez, Global Sensory Manager; Tina Tian – Global Sensory Manager; Ronald Nixdorf, Global Sensory Manager; Rachael Weait, Shipping Co-Ordinator; Boris Gadzov, Director of Global Sensory Management; Sally Pullen, Business Support Co-Ordinator; Richard Boughton, Managing Director; Marie Pohler – Global Sensory Manager