The use of the word "sweet" - Page 2

Want to talk espresso but not sure which forum? If so, this is the right one.
User avatar
Almico

#11: Post by Almico »

I felt the same way early on. It was hard to perceive the sweetness in coffee since 95% of the food and beverage offerings in the local supermarket or at most fast food chains have tons of added sugar. Sugar is everywhere and in everything.

If you eat a bite of cheesecake and then sip some coffee, it will taste bitter. If you take a teaspoon of lemon juice and then the same coffee, the coffee will be sweet in comparison.

That said, lack of sweetness in coffee is as much a roast defect as an agricultural feature. If a roast is left to its own devices and ror is not controlled, sweetness is the first victim. It falls off very quickly, hence most of the coffees you come across have had their sugars squandered up the smokestack.

User avatar
yakster
Supporter ♡

#12: Post by yakster »

Marcelnl wrote:I also am almost sure that sweet is quite relative, aside from a genetic factor your perception of sweet is shifted depending on how much sweet / sugar you consume.
This echoes my thoughts. I gave up drinking soda and try to limit sweets, I drink mostly coffee, tea, and water, and this really helped me taste the subtle flavors including sweetness in coffee. I've even tried OraNurse unflavored toothpaste to help the palate.

You can taste a lot of things in coffee that remind you of foods, berries, chocolate, hazelnut, blackberry but it doesn't taste exactly like these foods in the same way, nevertheless I really enjoy these notes in coffee.

My ability to taste these flavors in coffee changes often.
-Chris

LMWDP # 272

BPlus: turning your coffee spirit
Sponsored by BPlus
ojt

#13: Post by ojt »

Just to add one more unexpert point of view, I think it is much easier to taste the lack of sweetness at first. It was something that nagged me when first starting out with specialty coffee etc. With time as I learned and found better coffees I started noting the sweetness which I personally could also describe as a sort of juicyness, not like the sweetness of a coffee sweetened with sugar.

Otherwise agree with mostly everything others said. One of the sweetest, if not the sweetest, was a medium roasted* Bolivian (can't remember further details) which tasted like toffee. I was unable to brew it without sweetness.

* For me medium roast is something that does not yet have roasty aromas but starts being a bit darker..
Osku

User avatar
Brewzologist
Supporter ♡

#14: Post by Brewzologist »

OP; I am like you. I like to think I'm better than the average consumer at tasting coffee given my obsession with roasting and brewing it, but I have always been bothered reading the flavor descriptors on bags of roasted coffee. What does "sweet", "chocolate" etc., really mean when tasting coffee?!?
I've tried a couple different methods of teaching myself to taste coffee with limited success. Recently, I signed up with Facsimile and have now completed 2 rounds, and I will say it's been the most enlightening method I've tried. I think I'm starting to get what the experts mean when they use these terms.

walr00s
Supporter ♡

#15: Post by walr00s »

I find that the Colombian EA (Sugarcane) decaf that the majority of U.S. specialty roasters offer is pretty much nothing but sweet caramel. Might be worth giving a go if you can get your hands on easily and want to experiment

User avatar
Spitz.me

#16: Post by Spitz.me »

Brewzologist wrote:OP; I am like you. I like to think I'm better than the average consumer at tasting coffee given my obsession with roasting and brewing it, but I have always been bothered reading the flavor descriptors on bags of roasted coffee. What does "sweet", "chocolate" etc., really mean when tasting coffee?!?
I've tried a couple different methods of teaching myself to taste coffee with limited success. Recently, I signed up with Facsimile and have now completed 2 rounds, and I will say it's been the most enlightening method I've tried. I think I'm starting to get what the experts mean when they use these terms.
Really happy to see that you feel you're getting somewhere. Can you shed some light for us?

1) What methods have you tried?
2) Why has the Facsimile subscription helped you over other methods.
3) Any nuggets of wisdom you can share based on your path that you can share to help others?

Super tasting is rare and taste is affected by so many things that my "sweet" is likely not what your "sweet" is.
LMWDP #670

User avatar
Brewzologist
Supporter ♡

#17: Post by Brewzologist »

Spitz.me wrote:Really happy to see that you feel you're getting somewhere. Can you shed some light for us?

1) What methods have you tried?
2) Why has the Facsimile subscription helped you over other methods.
3) Any nuggets of wisdom you can share based on your path that you can share to help others?

Super tasting is rare and taste is affected by so many things that my "sweet" is likely not what your "sweet" is.
1) Angel's Cup most recently which allows a bit of a crowd-sourced evaluation of coffees via an app.

2) Because the expert/guest cuppers provide insight into how their minds work when taking a subjective taste and converting it to a word such as "sweetness", "mouthfeel" and "acidity". They also describe how they have trained new cuppers in their organizations. Finally, other subscribers share their own perceptions in real-time during each tasting and there is Q&A at the end (led by a nobody named Scott Rao 8) ).

3) I am a total newbie here so lack any real wisdom except to a) start very simple in how you describe a coffee, b) taste as often as you can, and c) learn from those with more experience than you.

Flair Espresso: handcrafted espresso. cafe-quality shots, anytime, anywhere
Sponsored by Flair Espresso
txxt
Supporter ♡

#18: Post by txxt »

blutch wrote:It seems quite common for experts to use the word "sweet" to describe the taste of coffee. I just listened to JH's book on audible, The World Atlas of Coffee, and he must have used it 100 times. Although I prefer medium to dark coffee, I have tasted all sorts of coffees and rarely have i tasted the listed "notes" on the bag or what other people say they taste. I often roast and brew Ethiopian Yirgacheffe and only once have I noticed a very slight "blueberry" note, but i have never felt a "sweet" taste from any coffee ever. Perhaps I'm thinking too literally here, but unless coffee has frothed milk or sugar in it, I just don't see how it can be sweet. So, can someone explain to me why this word is used so much and what I'm missing... what are they REALLY tasting?

B
Considering you roast and brew Yigacheffe, what happens when you get Yirgacheffe from a professional roaster? Still only faint blueberry? Same result? Over multiple bags?

Arguably, I suppose it would be possible to roast the sweetness out of a bean once you start to hit full city and beyond. Although on my Gene Cafe a few years back and now on my Bullet I can hit medium on naturals and get very sweet, juicy notes.

So, to answer the OP, yes I do taste sweetness in coffee. It's generally not sugar sweetness unless it's hacienda esmerelda gesha. Maybe it's your palate specifically? What do those around you tasting the same coffee think?

blutch (original poster)

#19: Post by blutch (original poster) » replying to txxt »

I don't like any of the roasters in my area, but I should try some of their stuff. It's all just too lightly roasted for me. I'm slowly moving to roasting lighter, so maybe my palette will develop more since I'm drinking espresso now.

I probably should try ordering some coffee online, but I don't have any idea where to start as I've never done that. I've been roasting for a long time.

B

DamianWarS
Supporter ♡

#20: Post by DamianWarS »

blutch wrote:It seems quite common for experts to use the word "sweet" to describe the taste of coffee. I just listened to JH's book on audible, The World Atlas of Coffee, and he must have used it 100 times. Although I prefer medium to dark coffee, I have tasted all sorts of coffees and rarely have i tasted the listed "notes" on the bag or what other people say they taste. I often roast and brew Ethiopian Yirgacheffe and only once have I noticed a very slight "blueberry" note, but i have never felt a "sweet" taste from any coffee ever. Perhaps I'm thinking too literally here, but unless coffee has frothed milk or sugar in it, I just don't see how it can be sweet. So, can someone explain to me why this word is used so much and what I'm missing... what are they REALLY tasting?

B
coffee typically is cupped with other coffee to provide a reference/contrast point. when cupping 5 or even 3 different coffees at once the nuances stand out more and you can identify which one is fruitier, sweeter, chocolate, blueberry etc.... than others. It's not that is taste like blueberry or that it's sweet, its that amoung the other coffee that's being cupped it can be described as more blueberry or more sweeter. over time you develop a better sense for it and can cup individual coffees and know what sweet is but contrasting it with other coffees is always better even for the most experienced cupper.

also coffee for cupping often is done a smaller roasters called sample roasters and the brew method for cupping is unique as well. I have bought coffee from roasters that taste nothing like their cupping notes and it's because they cupped from a sample roaster and their sample roast profile probably was pretty good but the coffee I got there is no way they cupped that coffee and got those notes out of it. For example I got some coffee a couple days ago that I was testing and right away, tomato, vegetal and earthy and almost musty... (not good). their cupping notes said nutty, chocolate, herbal and spicy and broadly there was overlap but if that's what they tasted then they were being too generous and making the coffee sound better then it actually is and that can be a problem.

all of this may mean what happens at the cupping table may not translated the same way in your cup. the best you can do is contact the roaster and ask them the best way to brew the coffee as well as what water they are using (third wave, etc...) and other things like temp of water. this way you can produce that they hopefully tested themselves.