Does coffee taste better hot or cold?

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Postby Arpi » Nov 26, 2010, 11:59 am

To me, coffee taste better cold.

When I pick a drip coffee cup left cold, I can also pick a more dimensional flavor. The little defects that may existed before are gone and the new cold cup has now more depth and dimension (flavor wise improved). It is as if high temperature hides extra flavors and cold temperatures brings them forward (but not by a whole lot).

Is it my tongue receptors or is there a chemical change in the coffee (me or the coffee)?


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Postby Marc » Nov 26, 2010, 12:25 pm

For me it tastes better warm, neither hot or cold.

Coffee is something quite special and is quite complexe on the tongue due to all it's flavor + taste on the tongue.

Theirs the bitterness that is decrease when the cup is hotter
The perception of sweetness that decreases when the cup cool, thus increasing the acidity
And their's the heat that is also a flavor enhancement (by making the flavor molecule more active)
Increasing acidity also enhance the flavor and balance the sweetness (think vinaigrette, splash of acid in a sweet sauce..)

I find it too acidic when it's cold and less complexe, and also when it's too hot your tongue tends to crisp up and you don't taste the flavor as much.

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Postby another_jim » Nov 26, 2010, 12:39 pm

The practice in cupping is to wait ten minutes before tasting, so the cup passes the baby bottle test (doesn't feel too hot when you put your wrist against the side).

For passing the tough triangle tests (picking out the odd coffee), the best discrimination comes from the dry aroma and then from the coffee after it has cooled off about 20 minutes, to roughly body temperature.

The best tasting point may not coincide with the point where cuppers find it easiest to rate or discriminate the most flavors; but for a good coffee, it should be close.

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Postby jkoll42 » Nov 29, 2010, 11:58 am

I am with warm as well. That being said, it is very refreshing in the summer to mix a shot into ice/whole milk with a little sugar.

Experts - how long do you usually wait to drink a straight shot?

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Postby JohnB. » Nov 29, 2010, 1:20 pm

While I usually drink my vac pot brews warm I find it does taste best (to me) at room temp.

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Postby Eric » Nov 29, 2010, 1:57 pm

I enjoy Aeropressed coffee around 150 deg F but I always leave a bit in the cup to cool down closer to room temperature as the taste profile becomes clearer to me. There is a lukewarm phase between these points that isn't as pleasant to me. I am reminded how much I dislike blazingly hot coffee when I travel and get coffee from the mermaid.

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Postby jpreiser » Nov 29, 2010, 2:13 pm

I too prefer warm coffee. I was never able to acquire the taste for room temperature and don't think I've tasted enough iced coffee to form an opinion.

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Postby Arpi » Dec 12, 2010, 12:44 pm

On a personal note, I have found that "bad coffee" (too bitter,cheap beans,poorly extracted,etc) taste better hot, while "good coffee" (the opposite) tastes better cold.

Could it be that temperature hides/unmasks certain characteristics of the flavor? Or does the magic happens in the tongue?


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Postby cannonfodder » Dec 14, 2010, 4:13 pm

I start with a big cup of piping hot coffee. Then enjoy is as it becomes hot, warm, cool and room temperature. Each one brings something different yet reminiscent of the previous.
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