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

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

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

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

GMP Flavour Standard Ordering Page

GMP Flavour Standard Ordering Page

Our GMP Flavour Standards now have an improved online ordering page. Designed to offer you the full range of our exclusive pharmaceutical quality produced flavour standards that include options for purchasing based on the beverage you normally tasting. Each of our flavours are produced to GMP Pharmaceutical grade quality control systems in blister packs for ease of use and improved stability – only FlavorActiV provide these products.

With options for Beer Flavour Standards, Soft Drink Flavour Standards, Water Flavour Standards and our new Craft Brewing Kits you can easily select and purchase any products you like via our website.

Very soon we’ll be implementing PayPal purchasing options to make the process even more streamlined including credit and debit card payments or PayPal account purchases.

If you need any help or assistance with the on-line ordering page please get in contact with us or speak to your Global Sensory Manager.

– The FlavorActiV Team

The 2012 MBAA Convention

One of FlavorActiV’s Global Sensory Managers flew out to Puerto Rico earlier this month to attend the 2012 MBAA Convention.  Ronald Nixdorf  gave a presentation which was then followed by a taste session where participants were introduced to a number of our flavour standards.


The convention was held in Cerveceria de Puerto Rico and ran from Tuesday 29th May up until 3rd June.


If you would like more information about the convention please email Ronald on:

Boris Gadzov will open the 16th School of Fermentation Technology annual congress

FlavorActiV’s Boris Gadzov is currently in Krakow, Poland, where he will open the 16th School of Fermentation Technology’s annual congress. The congress is supported by Krakow’s University of Agriculture and will be attended by over 150 delegates. Boris will be presenting a paper about global beer tasting opportunities – explaining the expansion and importance of sensory evaluation both in-house and right through the supply chain. Please get in touch with Boris if you would like any more information about the conference and his paper at

FlavorActiV To Improve Flavour Standard Range

FlavorActiV To Improve Flavour Standard Range

FlavorActiV to expand and improve flavour standard range in partnership with Quay Pharma

Taster management specialist FlavorActiV is improving the quality and range of its flavour standard products through a new partnership with specialist pharmaceutical manufacturer Quay Pharma.

The improved product range, which will be available around early 2012, are manufactured to Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) pharmaceutical grade production standard – a requirement demanded by an increasing number of FlavorActiV’s global brewer and beverage customers and in excess of ISO 17025 industry standards. The flavours will be supplied in pharmaceutical grade packaging to ensure product quality, consistency and performance.

FlavorActiV has its own brand new purpose built, dedicated production and analytical area within Quay Pharma’s pharmaceutical production facility in Flintshire, north Wales.  A FlavorActiV-trained and managed expert panel will be available for sensory analysis and validation of flavour standards, as well as significant laboratory analytical equipment use.

The Quay Pharma facility and team in Flintshire, north Wales

Flavour standards are an essential tool in FlavorActiV’s core business of taster management: recruiting and training in-house tasting panels for its customers and then validating panel members’ tasting skills regularly to ensure drinks quality is maintained. Their flavour standards replicate the flavours generated by common faults in the production process and are supplied as capsules which dissolve rapidly to add the required flavour to a liquid such as beer.

As well as being used by tasting panels trained and validated by FlavorActiV, the products are widely used in the beverage industry in laboratory analysis of flavour issues.

Richard Boughton, FlavorActiV managing director, said: “Our move to Quay Pharma allows us to make a quantum leap in the quality of the products and services we offer customers, not just for beer but for beverage sensory needs. It delivers not just improvements in our existing products, but also in the stability of the flavours in our existing products, as well as the additional quality of pharmaceutical grade packaging. In addition, there is scope for further flavour innovation in the products we can offer customers.

“The use of a GMP-certified partner brings further improvements to the traceability and supply of these products, which our customers can see first-hand as we are conducting visits to our production facility.”

He added, “Our aim has always been to provide our clients with the best-trained, most rigorously-validated tasting panels and these new flavours will help us to achieve this.”

SIBA Great Northern Beer Festival

One of our Taster Management Advisers Marie Pohler went to Manchester last month to train SIBA’s Great Northern Beer Festival judging panel. Marie held a one day tasting session on how to taste taints and off-flavours in beers. The seminar was open to all the judges at the beer competition, which hosted 250 cask beers and 100 bottled beers. To find out more information about SIBA please feel free to contact Marie at or visit the SIBA website.

New Taster Validation Scheme Software

New Taster Validation Scheme Software
New software from FlavorActiV streamlines Taster Validation Scheme
FlavorActiV is pleased to announce that we have launched a new software package which offers brewers and beverage companies greatly improved support to maintain the effectiveness of their in-house tasting panels.
The new, licensed software – the result of an extensive redevelopment programme by FlavorActiV – makes the process of taster validation easier, faster and more intuitive for the users, generally in-house tasting team leaders.

Taster validation is a core element of the service provided by FlavorActiV. The process tests the tasting ability of panel members and is carried out every two months. “The redesigned software is an integral part of our Taster Validation Scheme (TVS). Using the software to record validation results means our customers are able to spend less time on administration, more time on tasting,” says Dr Boris Gadzov, FlavorActiV director of taster management.

Taster validation is accomplished by sending a set of anonymous coded flavour standards to panel members. These are dissolved in beer or another beverage, and panel members try to identify the flavours. When the team leader enters the panel’s score, he is given an instant result for its accuracy level – a minimum score of 70% is required for a robust panel.

Further analysis is easy to do with the new system, enabling team leaders and others to pull up results on an individual, panel, site or company-wide basis, using the range of options provided for graphs and charts to display them.  Problems at all levels are easy to spot and remedy, usually through further training, before they cause any problems with beer or beverage quality.

FlavorActiV also offers remote analysis of the taster validation results, which it uses to shape the support offered by its team of Taster Management Advisers. It can also highlight broader issues, as Gadzov explains, “If we find, for example, that tasters globally are having trouble detecting a particular flavour, then we review how we train them to recognise it,” says Gadzov.

Features of the software include:

  • Multilingual capability, initially in English, Russian and Chinese
  • An intuitive, fully user-friendly process
  • Greatly improved speed and ease of use
  • A wider range of functionality and data manipulation
  • All results encrypted and securely stored
  • Encrypted connection to customer during access to the software

Gadzov comments: “Our starting point for the new TVS was our customers. We’ve listened carefully to them in order to make this improved version as simple to use as possible, while at the same making it even more effective in supporting their business.”