PhillyRick Senior Member Joined: 17 Dec 2012 Posts: 30 Location: Philadelphia
Posted Fri Feb 15, 2013, 8:46am Subject: Re: I don't taste it.
As a drinker, I'm a rank amateur with coffee, intermediate with wine, advanced with beer. The descriptions are very difficult, and even with beer I don't find the wine writers' style ("wilted rose petals, wet dog, a touch of mushroom soil in the finish") very helpful.
Temperature and time are common elements with all three beverages. A red wine or British pale ale served chilled tastes much different than if served at cellar temperature, and the flavor of both evolves in the bottle and glass. Similarly, a steaming mug of coffee has different flavors and aromas than the same mug 10 or 15 minutes later, when it has cooled and been exposed to air.
This morning I brewed a French roast from a small local roaster whose description read "Spicy, floral aroma with gentle acidity. Sweet flavor, full body, and caramel-like finish." The aroma was marvelous but faded in a few minutes, and I was wondering where the "full body" was. The body became apparent as it entered the upper ideal-drinking-temperature range, and only when it was at the low end of that range did I appreciate the caramel. Actually quite a lovely mug.
If you've got more money and interest, you could check out the Le Nez Du Cafe vials of coffee scents, either as a kit or vial by vial at Espresso Parts (maybe wait for their periodic free shipping deals).
If you can get together and compare notes, whether doing a formal "cupping" or just sharing coffee, that helps. You could also check to see if there are any local cafes hosting cupping or tasting events as well.
I also recommend the SCAA Coffee Cupping Handbook by Ted Lingle.
Posted Sat Feb 16, 2013, 6:32am Subject: Re: I don't taste it.
Thanks so much for the advice. This morning I sat with a cup for a bit and just took time to enjoy it. Thinking about what Jason I'd about analogy, I thought, " how would I describe this?" I was thinking honey and raw sugar, and sure enough when I looked at the bag those were two of the descriptions.
I think part of the problem I was having was trying to go about it backwards. I would read the package and try to taste what the label said vs. just enjoying the cup and noting how it tastes.
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