Do the fancy flavors used to describe coffee actually exist? - Page 2

Discuss flavors, brew temperatures, blending, and cupping notes.
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nixter (original poster)

#11: Post by nixter (original poster) »

Thank you malachi. That was the "stupid answer" to my "stupid question" that I was looking for.

Still, I can't help but feel that these descriptions get a little exaggerated in the quest for coffee elite-ness.

Interesting about the neighboring growth Jim, this is more in line with what I have often suspected.

Espin

#12: Post by Espin »

nixter wrote:Interesting! But I think you all are underestimating the stupidity of my question, thinking that I am somehow smarter than I actually am and therefore not quite answering it for me. So, I understand that the blueberry smell is present in the Yirgacheffe but there aren't actual blueberries somehow used in the growing or roasting process right? It's just a very happy coincidence correct?
Ingredient: Coffee.

No chocolate, no blueberry, no crushed rose petals. If it happens to taste like that, it's a nuance of the growing conditions - in the bag, there is coffee.

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timo888

#13: Post by timo888 »

Comparisons to known flavors (cinnamon, blueberry, roasted almonds, jasmine, citrus) are fine. You can actually taste these things when drinking coffee. Different plants often produce the same chemicals/flavor compounds. (It's not merely a kind of "reminiscence" or "reminding".) You can taste elements of a fine Riesling sometimes when eating a pear or apple, or when drinking a good Darjeeling. On the other hand, the mixed metaphors/synesthesia of marketing lingo are merely connotative, not denotative. E.g. acidity that "sparkles", to borrow Jim's example, or cherries that "sing", to borrow malachi's.

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howard seth

#14: Post by howard seth »

"sweet and delicately complex with nuances of fruits, florals, and chocolate"

nixter - I wish I could taste all those luscious descriptions used to describe coffee - I don't. But, I still really like the stuff.

Howard
Howie

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nixter (original poster)

#15: Post by nixter (original poster) »

I actually have trouble distinguishing bitter from sour which makes diagnosing temperature problems kind of tricky.

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JmanEspresso

#16: Post by JmanEspresso »

Nixter..

When I first started with espresso, that was my main problem. Is it sour or bitter? But after a short while, you'll start to be able to tell the difference. So much so, that when you taste a sour shot, you'll ask yourself "How in the WORLD didn't I know this was a sour shot!"

But, when it comes to tasting flavors and nuances in coffee, whether its brewed or extracted as espresso, I think, depends on a few things. First, how diverse the food in your diet is, meaning how many new different things you taste all the time.. And two, how YOU taste the coffee. *Someone who eats only fastfood, Beenie-Weenie Casserole, canned soup and hotdogs all their life is probably going to have a harder time "detecting" those subtle flavors than someone who, for example, maybe works in the food industry and is capable in the kitchen, able to work with a wide variety of ingredients and different cuisines. This is just my feeling on the subject.

*Disclaimer- While I don't think eating such foods all the time is anywhere near smart or healthy, Ive had me some very tasty beenie-weenie casserole, and ill be Damned if the Wendys Spicy Chicken Filet is ever removed from their menu. :)

** Beenie-Weenie Casserole- A simple "Kids Dish" made of Baked beans and cut up hot dogs. You take ~3 cans of beans and a package of hots dogs cut up into pieces, add it to a casserole dish, Throw in some ketchup/BBQ sauce/Honey/Molasses/Spices/Anything else you like, and bake it till its hot. Serve over toasted hamburger buns, or, even better, Kaiser rolls from the Deli. While it certainly wont turn you into the best date she ever had, when you're with your buddies, few things compliment a case of beer better. :)

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sweaner
Supporter ♡

#17: Post by sweaner »

This discussion reminds me of a conversation I had with a friend who gave us a recipe. It was for "caramel apple salad." She commented that it was amazing that it "tasted like caramel, and wasn't made with caramel."

I told her that caramel was not made with caramel!
Scott
LMWDP #248

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malachi

#18: Post by malachi »

Espin wrote:Ingredient: Coffee.

No chocolate, no blueberry, no crushed rose petals. If it happens to taste like that, it's a nuance of the growing conditions - in the bag, there is coffee.
Not just growing conditions.
Cultivar, processing, roasting, handling, age, etc.
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin

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nixter (original poster)

#19: Post by nixter (original poster) »

JmanEspresso wrote:Nixter..

When I first started with espresso, that was my main problem. Is it sour or bitter? But after a short while, you'll start to be able to tell the difference. So much so, that when you taste a sour shot, you'll ask yourself "How in the WORLD didn't I know this was a sour shot!"

But, when it comes to tasting flavors and nuances in coffee, whether its brewed or extracted as espresso, I think, depends on a few things. First, how diverse the food in your diet is, meaning how many new different things you taste all the time.. And two, how YOU taste the coffee. *Someone who eats only fastfood, Beenie-Weenie Casserole, canned soup and hotdogs all their life is probably going to have a harder time "detecting" those subtle flavors than someone who, for example, maybe works in the food industry and is capable in the kitchen, able to work with a wide variety of ingredients and different cuisines. This is just my feeling on the subject.

*Disclaimer- While I don't think eating such foods all the time is anywhere near smart or healthy, Ive had me some very tasty beenie-weenie casserole, and ill be Damned if the Wendys Spicy Chicken Filet is ever removed from their menu. :)

** Beenie-Weenie Casserole- A simple "Kids Dish" made of Baked beans and cut up hot dogs. You take ~3 cans of beans and a package of hots dogs cut up into pieces, add it to a casserole dish, Throw in some ketchup/BBQ sauce/Honey/Molasses/Spices/Anything else you like, and bake it till its hot. Serve over toasted hamburger buns, or, even better, Kaiser rolls from the Deli. While it certainly wont turn you into the best date she ever had, when you're with your buddies, few things compliment a case of beer better. :)

You know it's not that I can't tell the difference exactly.. if I had 2 shots side by side I'd know which is which. It's more that I forget the difference between sour and bitter because they produce a similar reaction for me. This morning for instance I pulled 2 shots on the HX that did not water dance when I flushed so I assumed they were going to be on the sour side. Both my friend and I thought the shots tasted bitter though. odd. To make it more difficult I've been having really good consistency with shots as of late so the variation from the sweet spot in either direction has been minuscule making detection more difficult.

Wescott

#20: Post by Wescott »

One more thing worth mentioning is that there are large individual differences in tastes and smells that people can discriminate. Some of these differences (not very useful ones) have proven to be outright genetic, and they are permanent abilities/disabilities. Others may be starting points from which one can develop.

Pretty clearly there are those who are talented both at discriminating taste differences and at articulating them.

Then too when memory and flavors intersect, there is lots of opportunity to let your original perceptions become secondary to a story or suggestion of some sort. Hence, the value of double blind taste tests.

Too often we tend to think that our perceptual apparatus is a lot like a finely calibrated scientific instrument. In reality our perceptions are servants to a host of preconceptions, transitory conditions, and faulty recall.

Should we abandon talking about flavors then? No! It's too much fun and can be part of the suggestive apparatus that will lead us to some discovery. Things don't have to be objective to be worthwhile.