Posted Fri Mar 16, 2012, 8:16am Subject: How coffee should taste and why people think it is bitter.
At work the other day one of my coworkers was complaining about how badly inconsistant dunkin donuts coffee was and that he should just drink black coffee if it wasn't so bitter.
When I heard that I said you know properly brew coffee should not be bitter and he argue with me for awhile about that. The first thing he did was wikipedia coffee and in the first line it said cofee is a bitter drink.
I started to calmly explain to him why coffee should not be bitter and he got louder and louder. Eventually I said....you being loud does not make you right.
I then proceeded to show him an article about coffee and coffee tasting. It showed a list of desirable/undesirable characteristics of how coffee should taste and his first response to that was " isn't the undesirable part based on opinion?".
Why are people so opposed to the fact that coffee is more complexed and has a range of flavors?
Posted Fri Mar 16, 2012, 9:40am Subject: Re: How coffee should taste and why people think it is bitter.
You're telling us your coworker thinks black coffee tastes bitter. And that he challenges whether coffee tasters can state which parts are undesirable as an absolute--that it really is a matter of opinion.
Then you lament that people are opposed to certain facts. Not opinions. And you don't mention bitterness in those facts. You talk about how coffee is complex and has a range of flavors.
So, let's see... your coworker says bitterness is a matter of opinion. And you counter by saying coffee complexity is a fact.
See the problem? You just need to admit that it really is a matter of opinion.
StereoHeathen Senior Member Joined: 11 Sep 2011 Posts: 59 Location: New York City Expertise: Pro Barista
Grinder: Baratza Maestro Drip: Bee House, Clever Roaster: Hottop B
Posted Fri Mar 16, 2012, 10:38am Subject: Re: How coffee should taste and why people think it is bitter.
I would argue that a vast majority of coffee does taste bitter, or have bitterness as one component of its flavor.
What you could have argued is that it doesn't have to be bitter to an undesirable extent. Well-made black coffee can of course be delicious on its own, with a complex assortment of flavors, but bitter is almost always going to be one of them, just by nature.
However, if he doesn't like black coffee he has had because it's been too bitter, then obviously bitterness is undesirable to him, and to argue otherwise is absurd.
Posted Fri Mar 16, 2012, 11:05am Subject: Re: How coffee should taste and why people think it is bitter.
I see this is most likely why we butted heads. From research and tasting well made pour over coffee lately I kept going with the fact that "well made coffee should never be bitter".
Today at work I made a cup of coffee for my coworkers in a chemex. I used a very bright and fruity coffee bean. When I gave him the cup of coffee he insulted me by saying it tasted like 7-11 coffee and I just said okay and moved on. Leaving the rest of the chemex in the break room there was a nice aroma filling area and pretty soon the rest of the coffee was gone by other coworkers who said it was really good coffee.
I agree. Maybe he's got expectations (chocolate) of a certain (chocolate) profile (hint hint). Also, speaking from experience, a lot of you coffee afficionados like a relatively weak cup. He may prefer something stronger than you like. But let him add all the sugar, etc., he wants. If he still thinks your coffee is no better than 7-11 or Dunkin Donuts, he's probably a lost cause.
Now let me clarify something: I really don't like coffee black. But I love it with cream and sugar, and can taste all the flavors in my roaster's description. My coworkers think my coffee is the smoothest, most flavorful brew they've ever had--they drink it black. And I hate drinking it black. Capice?
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