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Discussions > Coffee > Q and A > I don't taste...  
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MikeSD
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Joined: 10 Jan 2013
Posts: 53
Location: Florida
Expertise: I like coffee

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Posted Thu Feb 14, 2013, 8:20am
Subject: I don't taste it.
 

I've been buying green coffee from SM for a while and roasting it myself.  I feel like I've been getting better at roasting to the point of being able to make a decent (and in some cases even good) cup of coffee.  Now, however, I'm running into a new "problem".  

I read the descriptions of the various coffees I've roasted talking about notes of apple or mandarin, or whatever, and I don't taste any of it.  Sometimes I will taste a bit of the sweetness they talk about, but that's about it.  How do I get better at this?  Are some people just more sensitive to taste than others?  Is there a way to improve my palate?  I've been brewing using a pourover set up.  Might it help to switch to a press?  I'm sure this as been asked before, but I haven't been able to find it in the search.
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CMIN
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Location: South FL
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Posted Thu Feb 14, 2013, 8:42am
Subject: Re: I don't taste it.
 

I've never gotten taste like descriptions say, even if pulling at their exact specifications for temp, dose etc. I can generally just tell good shots from bad, and some of the deeper more chocolaty ones I guess you could say, bright coffees all taste the same to me. I've never understood how someone could taste "hints of chocolate with lavender on top of melted brown sugar with orange blossoms and rose petals wrapped up in a maple pancake" ;) if you know what I mean lol.

However I'm good with micro brews so go figure.
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MikeSD
Senior Member


Joined: 10 Jan 2013
Posts: 53
Location: Florida
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: De'Longhi EC155
Grinder: Hario Skerton, Baratza...
Vac Pot: Yama Stovetop 8 Cup
Drip: Hario Pourover
Roaster: Homemade SC/CO
Posted Thu Feb 14, 2013, 8:45am
Subject: Re: I don't taste it.
 

CMIN Said:

I've never gotten taste like descriptions say, even if pulling at their exact specifications for temp, dose etc. I can generally just tell good shots from bad, and some of the deeper more chocolaty ones I guess you could say, bright coffees all taste the same to me. I've never understood how someone could taste "hints of chocolate with lavender on top of melted brown sugar with orange blossoms and rose petals wrapped up in a maple pancake" ;) if you know what I mean lol.

However I'm good with micro brews so go figure.

Posted February 14, 2013 link

I know exactly what you mean.  I'm the same with micro brews and wines, as well.  Maybe its the temperature?
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CMIN
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Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,388
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Thu Feb 14, 2013, 8:52am
Subject: Re: I don't taste it.
 

MikeSD Said:

I know exactly what you mean.  I'm the same with micro brews and wines, as well.  Maybe its the temperature?

Posted February 14, 2013 link

My machine has a PID built in for accurate temp adjustments, but what machine do you have?

I'm the same, I can totally break down a micro brew or wine... but with coffee, generally I just taste whether it's a bad or good one lol. The only notes that really come out to me in certain beans are deeper ones like some chocolate/nutty notes, just had a Nicaraguan that was pretty nutty and good. But bright coffees all taste exactly the same to me, but that twang isn't what I would consider oranges, lime, lemons, peaches, strawberries, cherries etc lol. I had some one pull a shot for me and asked how awesome it was since it's full of cherry and berry flavors and is his favorite, I was just like uhhh ok it's just twangy to me, nothing like cherries lol
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MikeSD
Senior Member


Joined: 10 Jan 2013
Posts: 53
Location: Florida
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: De'Longhi EC155
Grinder: Hario Skerton, Baratza...
Vac Pot: Yama Stovetop 8 Cup
Drip: Hario Pourover
Roaster: Homemade SC/CO
Posted Thu Feb 14, 2013, 9:18am
Subject: Re: I don't taste it.
 

CMIN Said:

My machine has a PID built in for accurate temp adjustments, but what machine do you have?

I'm the same, I can totally break down a micro brew or wine... but with coffee, generally I just taste whether it's a bad or good one lol. The only notes that really come out to me in certain beans are deeper ones like some chocolate/nutty notes, just had a Nicaraguan that was pretty nutty and good. But bright coffees all taste exactly the same to me, but that twang isn't what I would consider oranges, lime, lemons, peaches, strawberries, cherries etc lol. I had some one pull a shot for me and asked how awesome it was since it's full of cherry and berry flavors and is his favorite, I was just like uhhh ok it's just twangy to me, nothing like cherries lol

Posted February 14, 2013 link

I meant just coffee/espresso being hot might have something to do with being able to taste it. Like maybe I don't put it on certain parts of my tongue when its hot.  I know know.  I don't have an espresso machine.  I just do pour over for now.
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CheapBastid
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Posted Thu Feb 14, 2013, 9:44am
Subject: Re: I don't taste it.
 

I'm a recent fan of coffee (never enjoyed the taste in my younger years) and a recent explorer into methods and nuance.  For years I've 'doctored' my coffee with syrup and cream until it resembles melted coffee ice-cream.

I'd heard about 'berry' flavors in coffee and figured I'd never taste them, but my first Aeropress cup of Intelligencia smacked me right in the face with berries.  Freaked me the f*$% out!
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dyqik
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Posted Thu Feb 14, 2013, 9:49am
Subject: Re: I don't taste it.
 

I think I get the difference between citrus fruits, 'woody' fruits (apple, pear), soft fruits (raspberry, strawberry etc) and stone fruits (plum, peach etc.), when they are heavily pronounced, but I'm not sure I could specify which exact fruit, and I've not tried this in blinded test.  Different tastes certainly come forward in coffee as it cools, or at different strengths, or with different brew methods.  Roast and profile are also a factor there too.

The SM descriptions are based on standard cupping rather than a brew method that you'd use for coffee you intend to drink, so it's not surprising that there's some difference there.  I think if you want to try and find those flavors you should try and get two similar coffees which only differ in e.g. the fruit description, and then cup them against each other.  You could also get samples of the relevant fruit and taste those against each other as well.

There's also the SCAA box of flavor oils that provide pure "calibration" samples of the flavor components often used to describe coffee if you really wanted to be test things out ;)
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CoffeeRoastersClub
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CoffeeRoastersClub
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Posted Thu Feb 14, 2013, 3:50pm
Subject: Re: I don't taste it.
 

MikeSD Said:

I've been buying green coffee from SM for a while and roasting it myself.  I feel like I've been getting better at roasting to the point of being able to make a decent (and in some cases even good) cup of coffee.  Now, however, I'm running into a new "problem".  

I read the descriptions of the various coffees I've roasted talking about notes of apple or mandarin, or whatever, and I don't taste any of it.  Sometimes I will taste a bit of the sweetness they talk about, but that's about it.  How do I get better at this?  Are some people just more sensitive to taste than others?  Is there a way to improve my palate?  I've been brewing using a pourover set up.  Might it help to switch to a press?  I'm sure this as been asked before, but I haven't been able to find it in the search.

Posted February 14, 2013 link

The Force must be strong within you to to sense the notes you reference.  If the good side (formally known as the "Light Side") is strong within you, citrusy notes will surface;  if the Dark Side is more prevalent then you will sense the more savory notes such as "leather" and "chocolate".

Len

 
"Coffee leads men to trifle away their time, scald their chops, and spend their money, all for a little base, black, thick, nasty, bitter, stinking nauseous puddle water." ~The Women's Petition Against Coffee, 1674

Bitcoin Merchant www.CoffeeRoastersClub.com     www.javaPRO-CRC.com
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MikeSD
Senior Member


Joined: 10 Jan 2013
Posts: 53
Location: Florida
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: De'Longhi EC155
Grinder: Hario Skerton, Baratza...
Vac Pot: Yama Stovetop 8 Cup
Drip: Hario Pourover
Roaster: Homemade SC/CO
Posted Thu Feb 14, 2013, 6:34pm
Subject: Re: I don't taste it.
 

CoffeeRoastersClub Said:

The Force must be strong within you to to sense the notes you reference.  If the good side (formally known as the "Light Side") is strong within you, citrusy notes will surface;  if the Dark Side is more prevalent then you will sense the more savory notes such as "leather" and "chocolate".

Len

Posted February 14, 2013 link

LOL.  So I'm Darth Vader?  I can taste the more chocolately side of things, at least some.  I guess my metachlorian level is a bit low.
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JasonBrandtLewis
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JasonBrandtLewis
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Posted Fri Feb 15, 2013, 8:53am
Subject: Re: I don't taste it.
 

MikeSD Said:

I read the descriptions of the various coffees I've roasted talking about notes of apple or mandarin, or whatever, and I don't taste any of it.  Sometimes I will taste a bit of the sweetness they talk about, but that's about it.  How do I get better at this?  Are some people just more sensitive to taste than others?  Is there a way to improve my palate?  I've been brewing using a pourover set up.  Might it help to switch to a press?  I'm sure this as been asked before, but I haven't been able to find it in the search.

Posted February 14, 2013 link

Mike?

Part One:

a) Do you currently enjoy the way your coffee tastes? (If so, move on to "b"; if not, move on to "c".)
b) Then what difference does it make?
c) Then change the way you prepare your coffee.

Part Two:

Mike, what does chocolate taste like?  I've never had it; describe its taste to me.

Go ahead.  I'll wait.
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"Chocolate.  Ah, it's creamy."
So, it tastes like drinking unwhipped whipping cream?
"Well, it's sweet."
So it's like honey?
"Well, it's bitter, too."
Like tea that's been steeped too long?
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See?  You can't do it.

This is the EXACT same issue I would confront every day as a wine writer, professional wine judge, wine educator, etc.  You cannot describe a taste.  You can only provide an analogy to something else.  The coffee does NOT taste of "apple" or "mandarin"; "blueberry" or  "lemon peel" -- BUT . . . there is a aromatic or flavor note of something reminiscent of the aroma or flavor of apples, etc.  In other words, something in the wine/coffee/whatever reminded the taster of an apple (or other component).

It matters not if YOU "get it."  What matters is only that you LIKE what's in the cup!  

The more you taste, the more you read the descriptors . . . IF the author(s) is/are consistent . . . then you'll find that those descriptors may be valuable in deciding what new coffees (or wines) to try.  If you find that you prefer coffees often described as "bright" or "citrusy," rather than coffees described as "chocolately" or "leathery," then when a new unknown-to-you coffee comes along described using words you like/don't like, you'll know whether or not it's worth trying . . . .

Cheers,
Jason

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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