What Are the Thresholds of Reliable Tasting? - Page 2

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another_jim
Team HB

#11: Post by another_jim »

rpavlis wrote:Remember you are the only expert about how something tastes!!!!!
:roll: The subjective theory of taste. If it were true, I wouldn't bother with all this food and coffee stuff; I'd just train myself to ecstatically love the taste of advantageous foods. I could eat rice and beans and save money; eat bran and get healthy, and pep talk myself into believing it was a three star meal.

Experts taste coffee in order to understand its physical character -- how ripe it is, how well it was prepped, where it came from, what cultivar it is. They will tell anyone prepared to listen that riper, more carefully prepped coffees, grown from lower yielding cultivars in higher locations, taste better.

Taste is a sense that, like sight or hearing, tells you about the world. It'll tell you what's ripe or unripe; raw, overcooked or done right, noxious or healthy. There's nothing subjective about it; there's just a lot of people who have never learned it is a valuable sense.
Jim Schulman

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the_trystero

#12: Post by the_trystero »

another_jim wrote:The subjective theory of taste. If it were true, I wouldn't bother with all this food and coffee stuff; I'd just train myself to ecstatically love the taste of advantageous foods. I could eat rice and beans and save money; eat bran and get healthy, and pep talk myself into believing it was a three star meal.
Oh how I wish I could do this. I would probably be much much healthier.
"A screaming comes across the sky..." - Thomas Pynchon

entropyembrace

#13: Post by entropyembrace »

another_jim wrote::roll: The subjective theory of taste. If it were true, I wouldn't bother with all this food and coffee stuff; I'd just train myself to ecstatically love the taste of advantageous foods. I could eat rice and beans and save money; eat bran and get healthy, and pep talk myself into believing it was a three star meal.

Experts taste coffee in order to understand its physical character -- how ripe it is, how well it was prepped, where it came from, what cultivar it is. They will tell anyone prepared to listen that riper, more carefully prepped coffees, grown from lower yielding cultivars in higher locations, taste better.

Taste is a sense that, like sight or hearing, tells you about the world. It'll tell you what's ripe or unripe; raw, overcooked or done right, noxious or healthy. There's nothing subjective about it; there's just a lot of people who have never learned it is a valuable sense.
If there is nothing subjective about taste blind taste testing would be a complete and utter waste of time...

...not that I want to say taste (or any other sense) is entirely subjective either. That would be silly too. Our senses detect things which exist in objective reality but our brains create a subjective experience based upon that objective reality.

An example...I find sharp cheeses to be repulsive, their smell is nauseating to me. I detect chemicals produced by bacterial metabolism with my sense of smell and have a negative subjective reaction to those smells. My brother loves sharp cheese...presumably he is detecting the same bacterial metabolites that I am, but his emotional reaction to those same chemicals is entirely different than mine.

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drgary
Team HB

#14: Post by drgary »

Tera:

Jim's referring to the subjective theory of taste and is not saying (how could he?) that taste doesn't have a subjective component. How can cupping be anything but a disciplined means of categorizing and quantifying subjectivity? Then at least we have a language for comparing impressions. And some of these impressions are pretty objective, such as tasting a defect from a well-known cause.
Gary
LMWDP#308

What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!

Anvan

#15: Post by Anvan »

Yes, and we need to separate subjectivity from preference. Given a perfectly equivalent vocabulary for example, two tasters could agree on a precise level of sweetness but differ regarding its goodness.

So advancing one's tasting capability is an exercise in increasing the objectivity in recognition and identification, but this is without regard to preference, which remains subjective.

That said however, preference seems to be dragged along by knowledge over time. As objective sensitivity and discernment improves, what we value tends to advance as well, and finesse, balance, clarity, complexity etc. begin to inform and change our subjective preferences and become appreciated once these characteristics can be recognized.

(Plenty of people reject any sweet wine, but here's hardly a oenophile who won't rush to a glass of d'Yquem.)

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another_jim
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#16: Post by another_jim »

entropyembrace wrote:If there is nothing subjective about taste blind taste testing would be a complete and utter waste of time...
Granted; but this is true of all the senses. Those I love are better looking and wittier than anyone else. But I need to be able to reliably distinguish them from complete strangers before I can make that judgment. Like our other senses, taste can be trained too. We can learn to distinguish our favorite coffee on a crowded table in the same way we can distinguish our friend in a crowd of strangers.

Training yourself with tougher and tougher triangle tests of similar coffees is the easiest way to develop this very objective ability. In my opinion, this is the more direct route than doing elemental taste and smell exercises, although those are valuable too.

The cupping courses for Q-certification use both types of training.
Jim Schulman

entropyembrace

#17: Post by entropyembrace »

Thanks for clarifying, Jim :)

The triangle tests sound interesting...a way of reliably tuning the senses to be both more sensitive and more objective. :)

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Marshall

#18: Post by Marshall »

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Marshall
Los Angeles

KScarfeBeckett

#19: Post by KScarfeBeckett »

drgary wrote:4. Once one has learned to name flavors and other cupping aspects, how much does this shape what is perceived or missed?

5. At what point do expectations mix with perceptions, especially when "squinting" for distinctions? Has there been any research on this?
Daniel Kahneman is interesting and informative about 'primed' thinking in his recent Thinking, Fast and Slow (pp. 50-58), describing large (unconscious) shifts in people's perceptions and behaviour in response to subliminal or apparently irrelevant environmental stimuli.

A striking example of what seems to be priming at work is now circulating in the joke by Jimmy Kimmel -- he has members of the public handle an iPhone 4S on camera while telling them it is a preview of the iPhone 5. All the participants shown admire the 'new' design. Even holding his own 4S in the other hand, one participant found the fake 5 better.

Trying to observe what's under my nose without expectations and inferences is proving the hardest part for me of making and drinking espresso.
Bought me a coffee grinder that's the best one I could find

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drgary
Team HB

#20: Post by drgary »

KScarfeBeckett wrote:Daniel Kahneman is interesting and informative about 'primed' thinking in his recent Thinking, Fast and Slow (pp. 50-58), describing large (unconscious) shifts in people's perceptions and behaviour in response to subliminal or apparently irrelevant environmental stimuli.

A striking example of what seems to be priming at work is now circulating in the joke by Jimmy Kimmel -- he has members of the public handle an iPhone 4S on camera while telling them it is a preview of the iPhone 5. All the participants shown admire the 'new' design. Even holding his own 4S in the other hand, one participant found the fake 5 better.
Katherine:

Thank you very much for these references. Now I can truly enjoy my iPhone 4, confident it is as good as any later model if I expect it to be!
Gary
LMWDP#308

What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!