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  • How do you train your tongue?

    Hey guys,

    What is your advice in training the tongue to distinguish the Aroma, Body, Flavor, Acidity when tasting a blend?

    Thanks in advance for advice. Cheers.

  • #2
    Re: How do you train your tongue?

    Originally posted by 28392D343D3D580 link=1250992133/0#0 date=1250992133
    Hey guys,

    What is your advice in training the tongue to distinguish the Aroma, Body, Flavor, Acidity when tasting a blend?

    Thanks in advance for advice. Cheers.
    WOO HOO! 5000th post for me!! 8-)

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    • #3
      Re: How do you train your tongue?

      Im actually working on an article on this for an upcoming publication, so Ill leave you to read that ;P

      In a nutshell, though, training your tongue is all about developing a frame of reference.  By far the fastest way to do this is to taste things comparatively - tasting two or more different coffees in a sitting.  You are really trying to do two things when you taste coffee: identify differences and describe them.  The former is more important than the latter in terms of your own enjoyment of what is going on.  Most people can actually pick differences fairly well; learning to describe them is something that can be picked up by working with resources such as the Lingle book and the Nez du Van kit, but is probably best picked up by tasting with experienced people.  It is probably worthwhile trying to keep some sort of record.  I have a small notebook for this purpose.  If you need guided tasting sheets, I am up to about version four or five of the sheets that I use for my coffee review stuff and will put them up on my site once I am happy with them. In the meantime, there are any number of cupping forms that you can get access to. These forms wont do the tasting for you, but they will give you a sense of the important areas to focus on.

      This has actually been a massive focus of mine over the past several years; I have basically bought every book, done every course and entered every competition that I possibly could to learn how to do it better.  In terms of learning the most, I would say that the SCAA cupping judge accreditation course is the best.  It is very comprehensive and methodical, but it is aimed towards the coffee industry, it isnt (yet) run in Australia and it is long and expensive.  That said, when I did it, a few of the class participants were not coffee industry professionals.  In terms of bang for your buck, if youre ever in Melbourne, the cuppings offered at Seven Seeds are impossible to beat.  Every week has been a very different lineup, carefully selected to illustrate certain points and the cost has been a gold coin donation to the coffeekids charity.  Its not my place to make announcements, but there are also going to be a few more interesting opportunities taking place in Australia in future.

      If you want more information, feel free to get in touch.

      Cheers,
      Luca

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      • #4
        Re: How do you train your tongue?

        thanks 2mcm and luca for that info, the courses are quite expensive and im in Sydney. I dont think we have anything that extensive over here. That would be great to do.

        2mcm - Thanks for the site. Good to read up, but again unfortunately I am in Sydney.

        Luca - I will now take a pad with me when tasting coffee and if you have any readings that I could have a look at, that would be great. I wil lread your publication when it comes out, just let me know when. What is lingle book?

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        • #5
          Re: How do you train your tongue?

          Hi Paulee,

          Ted Lingles book is called "The Coffee Cuppers Companion." It is one of the very few books that really steps through coffee tasting methodology. It contains a glossary of common coffee tasting terminology, which is quite useful. It also has a pretty in-depth exploration of how the basic tastes interact at different roast levels. I still havent gotten my head around it, but it was great in lending structure to how I approach tasting coffee. The book is aimed at industry and I think that it is something that all people whose jobs involve tasting coffee should buy, purely because it is one of the very few books on the subject and it is pretty cheap. I dont think that it is a good introduction on coffee tasting for beginners, but, like I said, its pretty cheap, so its not as if you have much to lose. The book is best used as a reference, in conjunction with tasting coffee with more experienced coffee tasters.

          If you PM me your email address, I will pdf some coffee tasting forms to you. Might take me a few weeks to get around to it.

          Cheers,

          Luca

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