Nick Name wrote:Measuring things can give us good guidelines, but the final test has to be taste.
I don't know, but I think some time a go home baristas were more eager to arrange blind testing over just about anything you can think of. Today many people just talk about what a refractometer has to say about the coffee. I think refractometer can be a great tool, but let's not forget it's only a tool that is reflecting certain things. It is a fab thing at the moment, but who knows which will be the next fab thing...
These are excellent observations. Ultimately coffee is a sensory thing. For the human senses.
Due to over-reliance on scales and instruments, there's people coming into the hobby now that have none of the fundamental sensory skills such as being able to spot a blinding point, taste and smell the output to understand what's going on, observe the nature of the flow and so on.
As you say, top chefs refine their creations by taste, sight and smell.
In regard to the blind tasting sessions you mentioned, another issue these days, and probably exacerbated by webforums, is the phenomenon of "received knowledge" that drives threads like this.
To give an example, some guy somewhere on a board says grinder XY43KZ is the best thing in the world for light roasts. Another guy reads that and repeats it, and soon enough it becomes received-wisdom, despite a complete lack of empirical evidence.
Like you, I'd rather see more blind tests as the judge.