Developing your Coffee Palate
If Art and music can be subjective, it stands to reason that coffee can as well!
While far from an immersive class, this Sunday we will hold a little palate developing class during Cattail Hour, 2pm EST on the Catfight Coffee Facebook Page. If you can't make it, below are some steps you can take anytime to enhance and enrich your love for coffee. All you need is a cup of coffee or 2 and a print out of the SCA Flavor Wheel, here! But, you know how we roll-if you don't have either of those things-you are always welcome to join.
We hope that your main takeaway from the Cattail hour class is this; What matters most is that you enjoy the coffee you brew. No coffee shaming here. You may notice that a nice side effect is slowing down and enjoying the process of making your cup of coffee. You have a busy day and coffee is the perfect accelerant. Why not savor those few minutes before the day takes off?
Aroma; Before we begin the brewing process, let’s take in the aroma of the coffee grinds. What does it smell like? Fruits? Flowers? Baked pastries? Remember-there are no wrong answers.
Now, after brewing your cup of coffee, smell it again! That’s right! Put your face in the cup and inhale. It’s amazing how coffee changes while it’s in it's stage of being processed. Smells different than the grinds right?
Acidity; Let’s start drinking or...in this case, sipping-even slurping! After the coffee has cooled a bit, try sipping just a bit. Sipping or more specifically Slurping, spreads the coffee all over your mouth to all the taste receptors. We want to keep an eye (or tongue) out for the brighter, more acidic taste. Some people confuse acidity with sour. Two different things. Imagine the difference between eating a lemon, an orange and a Kiki fruit and you will get the idea. Do you taste a lot or a little acidity. Neither is wrong, and some people prefer a brighter cup to a darker one.
Body; This is my favorite part. It’s the weight or texture of the coffee in your mouth. I think of it this way, like taking a gulp…only not swallowing, holding the drink in your mouth. Is the coffee thicker like milk, or thinner like tea? Is it more 'mud' like? That's the body.
Flavor; Now we are going to identify the specific tastes. You might notice a sweet taste (and sometimes salty) at the tip of your tongue or salty and sour on the sides and middle. Bitter you normally taste at the back of your tongue (now you know where your ex went! LOL).
This is where terms like ‘Cocoa’ or ‘Tobacco’ or ’Spice’ come into play. It doesn’t really mean that it tastes exactly like those things. More like a point of reference on where you are tasting things in your mouth. Check out the Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel. Try looking at that next time you have a mouth full of coffee.
Finish; Think of it this way…does it was down clean like say a Corona or coat your mouth like a Sam Adams lager? Does the first sip taste different than the last? What taste is left in your mouth after you finish?
-Print out the SCA Coffee Flavor wheel and put it near where you drink your coffee. Pay Attention to what you taste and see if you can find it on the wheel.
-Try brewing the same coffee 2 different ways. Try it in your normal pot of coffee, and try picking up a French Press and try that! Some coffee has a lot of personality and will taste totally different depending on how you brew them. Some, are more consistent and taste nearly the same.
-Try picking up a coffee form Indonesia like our Bali Cat and a coffee from latin America like our Eclipse Dark Roast or our Iron Claw. Brew a cup of each and compare! Try drinking both and looking at the flavor wheel.