"Muddy" Flavor?

Discuss flavors, brew temperatures, blending, and cupping notes.
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Marshall

#1: Post by Marshall »

Jim Schulman often uses this phrase to describe coffees that aren't exactly unpleasant, but that haven't reached their potential in some way. I realized after a while that I'm not certain what he means, but that I think I have an idea.

I think Jim means the flavors are muddled. Nothing in particular stands out. Often I get a pleasant, but unexciting, sweet and malty flavor from blends that are past their prime. I think to myself: "That's what Jim means by 'muddy!'" Do you, Jim?
Marshall
Los Angeles

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sweaner
Supporter ❤

#2: Post by sweaner »

Scott
LMWDP #248

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malachi

#3: Post by malachi »

I use muddy to indicate that the there is a "stewed" flavour (where the flavours are not clearly differentiated and instead are merged into one, undefined, flavour).

To illustrate, find a coffee that, when extracted as espresso, has clearly defined flavours - with a lot of transparency and clarity. It doesn't have to be one you love or anything - just needs to possess these traits.

Now up the dose by 2 grams.

Compare the two shots.

Note: there are a million other ways to create a "muddy" flavour -- and there are of course tons of coffees that simply have this trait inherently. The up-dose trick above is just the easiest way I know of to demonstrate the descriptor.
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin

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Marshall

#4: Post by Marshall »

Thanks, Chris. Sounds like I was on the right track.
Marshall
Los Angeles

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another_jim
Team HB

#5: Post by another_jim »

I really, really hate to say this; but Chris has stated it perfectly. Who will I disagree with now?
Jim Schulman

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malachi

#6: Post by malachi »

I'm so sorry.
It won't happen again.

:)
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin

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Marshall

#7: Post by Marshall »

Food writer friend Richard Reynolds took my wife and me this weekend to BarBambino in the Mission. Not only is the food in this Italian restaurant extraordinary, but I had an espresso experience that really shook up my personal little coffee world.

BarBambino takes its coffee very seriously. They use Ecco Caffe, pull shots on a Thorpe-modified (PID and more) LM Linea, and have a wait staff that was thoroughly trained by Ecco. I rarely (o.k. never) order espresso in restaurants. But I had Richard's encouragement and the novel experience of seeing a choice of espressos on the menu: "Northern" or "Southern" style.

I chose the Northern. When I tried it, I was stunned, and reached two conclusions. 1. This was the best restaurant espresso I had had in my life; and 2. My home technique (which I had thought was pretty good) needs some reassessment. Our wait person, Becky, brought out flavors in the coffee (which I assume was Ecco Reserve), that are never even hinted at in my home shots.

I'm always telling other people to periodically calibrate their skills at a good coffee shop. I never dreamed it would happen to me at a restaurant. It was a real slap in the face for me. I have never had a "clearer" example of what "clarity" means. Photo of the souped up Linea in the far end of the bar in the 4th photo: http://barbambino.com/place.shtml

[Partly cross-posted to CoffeeGeek.com].
Marshall
Los Angeles