Abstract Filter coffees from ground bean blends are key drink products in the out-of-home market. To explore how sensory characters were perceived in 12 commercial coffee blends, free choice profiling of black, unsweetened and sweetened coffees was effected. This yielded three generalised Procrustes product spaces that explained limited variance. However a derived vocabulary was used in subsequent conventional profiling of black, unsweetened coffee generating a principal component product space that explained 70% variance. Comparisons showed that roast height was the dominant factor in discrimination, followed by Robusta content. The coffee profiling vocabulary, had terms suited to understanding consumer evaluations of sensory character in retailed coffees, consisted of 26 attributes: six for aroma; 13 for flavour by mouth, or taste; four for after-taste; and three for mouthfeel.