How to taste coffee, it’s easier than you think…
You don’t need to be a coffee geek or know fancy words to describe or learn to taste coffee and develop your palate. Tasting coffee is very easy once you know how to get started. Find out how.
One big mistake many make is tasting coffee at its hottest. You wouldn’t typically drink coffee within a couple of minutes but between 15-30 minutes, right? It’s too hot to taste anyway, which is why most consumers think really good coffee tastes bad and dumps in cream and sugar to completely ruin the coffee that took so long to be perfect only to be ruined within five seconds. Coffee this hot is when you take in the aromas.
Yes, coffee is an acquired taste. But if you want to really experience great coffee at its best, give it a chance. “Slow down and smell the coffee.” Taking in a deep breath through your nose, will also help you to taste it better.
The easiest way to taste coffee is to brew two different types of coffee in a French press. It’s easier to distinguish the flavors apart, between the coffees. The French press brewing method allows for full extraction and offers all the coffee oils that a filter would soak up.
1) Brew at least two different coffees
Whether it’s different origins, different roasts of the same coffee, and 2 coffees from same origin but from different elevations or processing methods.
Don’t think too much about it. Just go with your first instinct.
2) Take in the aromas. Cup your hand around the top of the mug and get your nose into it
As coffee cools, different flavors come out at different temperatures. Other aromas can emerge too. Sometimes your coffee may not taste what you originally smelled. As silly as it sounds or looks, slurping your coffee covers your entire tongue, hitting every tastebud
3) Slurp and sip at five-minute intervals until room temperature.
Writing down what you taste develops your palate by helping you remember what you taste. Even if it’s something silly to help you describe it, no one else has to read it.
4) Write down what you taste
Always keep a “tasting” notebook near by as you try new food and coffee, and to help remember what all types of foods taste like in general. Think of it as documenting your “taste bud adventure” in a travel journal.
5) Eat well and try new foods
When you eat foods like berries, chocolate, spices etc. of notes you find in coffee, it becomes easier the next time to taste those notes of the coffee because your taste buds will recognize the flavors faster. This is especially helpful when trying complex coffees. This teaches you what foods pair well with different coffees, to help bring out certain coffee notes that are less subtle or flavors you enjoy most about the coffee.
6) Share with a friend
Doing this process with a friend is great for feedback and comparing tasting notes you may not have noticed at first. And it’s more fun to share this experience.
Tasting coffee doesn’t and shouldn’t be intimidating. As with a wine tasting, coffee tasting should be approached with an open mind of flavor and aroma discovery.
How have you developed your palate?
- Coffee Cupping at Counter Culture HQ
- Iced Coffee vs Cold Brew Coffee vs Iced Latte
- Review: Liquid Planet Desk French Press Tumbler
- Lent for Coffee Lovers