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If I wanted blueberries I'd eat blueberries....
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Discussions > Espresso > General > If I wanted...  
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Plaximus
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Posted Wed Apr 9, 2014, 12:08pm
Subject: Re: If I wanted blueberries I'd eat blueberries....
 

What all these guys said, coffee tasting should be fun.  I can def see the merits of describing notes of the coffee but lately it seems like it has been getting out of control.
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OvenbirdCoffee
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Posted Wed Apr 9, 2014, 6:09pm
Subject: Re: If I wanted blueberries I'd eat blueberries....
 

I've got really mixed feelings about some aspects of this. I'm a coffee geek that searched around the world for good coffee wherever I happened to be, and at home, to get/buy/make better coffee, and started a coffee roastery and espresso bar a year ago. After a year of roasting, tasting, sampling, and serving coffee, I know one thing for sure - I want coffee to taste good, and I want to share my love of it with my customers, in a friendly, approachable way. Most taste descriptors are not - they alienate the casual drinker, and potentially make them feel dumb if they can't taste the "flavour notes" that are described.

In my experience, it's only really been in a cupping situation where any of those descriptors bounce through, and cupping is really only for a very small portion of your customers, in the larger scheme of things. I like to talk about mouthfeel, type of aftertaste, sweetness, and acidity. All of these everyone is familiar with, and can easily notice, and these are the attributes I strive to develop in our roasts.

I embrace the fact that I'm a coffee geek, but I would never want to come across as a coffee snob, we should make good coffee as easy to appreciate for a layman as it is for a "Q" grader.
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GVDub
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Posted Thu Apr 10, 2014, 8:53am
Subject: Re: If I wanted blueberries I'd eat blueberries....
 

I think of it much like the coffee flavor wheel we all start with the basic flavor of coffee, then as our palates start to expand, we begin to notice the inner circle of more general flavors, fruit, chocolate, nut, spice, floral, spice, herb, etc. all impressions without further distinctions. Then, our palates start to expand a little more and we start to say to ourselves, "Hmmm, fruit, but a different fruit. Which fruit?" or, "Dark chocolate or bittersweet?" We begin to dig further and make finer distinctions, moving inexorably towards the outer edges and finer divisions of the wheel. It's the same things we always tasted, but the human brain's near endless drive to find and identify patterns will almost always dig a little further.
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boar_d_laze
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Posted Fri Apr 11, 2014, 11:13am
Subject: Re: If I wanted blueberries I'd eat blueberries....
 

GVDub Said:

I think of it much like the coffee flavor wheel we all start with the basic flavor of coffee, then as our palates start to expand, we begin to notice the inner circle of more general flavors, fruit, chocolate, nut, spice, floral, spice, herb, etc. all impressions without further distinctions. Then, our palates start to expand a little more and we start to say to ourselves, "Hmmm, fruit, but a different fruit. Which fruit?" or, "Dark chocolate or bittersweet?" We begin to dig further and make finer distinctions, moving inexorably towards the outer edges and finer divisions of the wheel. It's the same things we always tasted, but the human brain's near endless drive to find and identify patterns will almost always dig a little further.

Posted April 10, 2014 link

That's a sane way of looking at it.

Rich
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GVDub
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Posted Fri Apr 11, 2014, 5:02pm
Subject: Re: If I wanted blueberries I'd eat blueberries....
 

boar_d_laze Said:

That's a sane way of looking at it.

Rich

Posted April 11, 2014 link

"Sane"? I must be slipping.
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CoffeeRoastersClub
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Posted Fri Apr 11, 2014, 5:13pm
Subject: Re: If I wanted blueberries I'd eat blueberries....
 

OvenbirdCoffee Said:

I've got really mixed feelings about some aspects of this. I'm a coffee geek that searched around the world for good coffee wherever I happened to be, and at home, to get/buy/make better coffee, and started a coffee roastery and espresso bar a year ago. After a year of roasting, tasting, sampling, and serving coffee, I know one thing for sure - I want coffee to taste good, and I want to share my love of it with my customers, in a friendly, approachable way. Most taste descriptors are not - they alienate the casual drinker, and potentially make them feel dumb if they can't taste the "flavour notes" that are described.

In my experience, it's only really been in a cupping situation where any of those descriptors bounce through, and cupping is really only for a very small portion of your customers, in the larger scheme of things. I like to talk about mouthfeel, type of aftertaste, sweetness, and acidity. All of these everyone is familiar with, and can easily notice, and these are the attributes I strive to develop in our roasts.

I embrace the fact that I'm a coffee geek, but I would never want to come across as a coffee snob, we should make good coffee as easy to appreciate for a layman as it is for a "Q" grader.

Posted April 9, 2014 link

+1.  Well put.

Len

 
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JasonBrandtLewis
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Posted Sat Apr 12, 2014, 6:32am
Subject: Re: If I wanted blueberries I'd eat blueberries....
 

OvenbirdCoffee Said:

I embrace the fact that I'm a coffee geek, but I would never want to come across as a coffee snob . . . .

Posted April 9, 2014 link

That's true of every member of the WINE industry I've known over the past 50 years.

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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cerridwyn
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cerridwyn
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Posted Sun Apr 13, 2014, 7:10am
Subject: Re: If I wanted blueberries I'd eat blueberries....
 

I don't generally 'taste' what the package says. Really, not at all. My palate is not so refined. What I have learned over time, as someone who does not and never will roast my own, is what tasting notes I like or don't like, even if I don't taste them.

So if I go into a shop I've not been in before, and look to try a cup a joe, I look at those notes to decide. I don't expect to taste citrus or melon or chinese 5 spice, but what I know is I don't care for melon notes, for example.

 
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Coffeenoobie
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Posted Sun Apr 13, 2014, 10:42am
Subject: Re: If I wanted blueberries I'd eat blueberries....
 

Good point, even if you don't really taste blueberries you might dislike the berryish note in the coffee.  I know for a fact I dislike the strong citrus notes in coffee.  I have has some soft citrus notes that were good but I don't like lemon peel black cat.

 
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boar_d_laze
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Posted Sun Apr 13, 2014, 4:27pm
Subject: Re: If I wanted blueberries I'd eat blueberries....
 

Coffeenoobie Said:

Good point, even if you don't really taste blueberries you might dislike the berryish note in the coffee.  I know for a fact I dislike the strong citrus notes in coffee.  I have has some soft citrus notes that were good but I don't like lemon peel black cat.

Posted April 13, 2014 link

I don't like Black Cat either, it's way too sour.

However, "lemon peel" is not always a bad thing.  Most, modern, post-Starbucks roasts (i.e., not roasted too deep into FC+ or beyond) have some citrus quality; and "lemon" and "lemon peel" can be a very accurate description of that nuance.  

I just roasted a coffee -- Ethiopian Dench Meng sourced from Bodhi Leaf -- which, roasted as an espresso (C+/FC) has a strong presence of sweet lemon peel and raspberries; and roasted as a brew (C/C+) is, according to my notes "berry -- raspberry, strawberry, boysenberry, but not blueberry -- lemonade."  

If you, like nearly everyone in the world -- even in the rarified world of people who LOVE coffee -- have never worked at learning to describe what your palate is telling you, you're not going to notice the number of details nor come up with the same "tasting wheel" words for the details you do.  

As individuals we all have unique ways of making sense of the information our taste buds and palates provide us.  For physical reasons, some people can't learn to distinguish what others can.  The education is not palate, it's practice.

And...

Perspective Perspective Perspective:
It's not important to enjoyment.  It's a lot of fun -- but let's not confuse it with something important.

Rich
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