Tasting the Flavour
Updated: Nov 15, 2020
This is part two of my previous post: 'Tasting the Texture', in this article the focus will be purely on Flavour and how to identify more specific flavours in coffee.
When we taste coffee, we are relying on our memory to identify the flavours we experience.
90% of what we taste is made up by what we smell. Try clenching your nostrils next time you taste Espresso - you will experience the mouthfeel and the texture, but the flavours will be very difficult to taste, then take your hand away from your nose and you will experience this incredible explosion of flavour!
When we taste our brain has to combine the Aroma, Taste and Tactile Experience together with our memory - in order for us to decide what that coffee tastes like.
The more flavours you have experienced in your lifetime the more flavours you will have in your memory to draw from - think of this like a 'Flavour Vocabulary'.
Chocolatey or Fruity Flavours?
In 2012 I started my first full time Barista job in Specialty Coffee, part of the focus was on tasting and sensory development; in order to help customers decide what retail coffee they would like to take home.
We were trained to ask 'Would you like something Chocolatey or Fruity?' Usually the customer was unsure of what they wanted, so it was up to us (the Barista) to help guide them in their taste preference.
So to begin tasting and identifying flavour, ask yourself: 'is this coffee Chocolatey or Fruity?' from there you can get more specific.